(This is a review for the Brooklyn College production of Fool For Love, play written by Sam Shepard - too bad the title of the play is a synopsis for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode...)
I think now it's time for me to get back into seeing life as an irrational fight between people. In this case, the New Workshop Theatre?s production of the Sam Shepard play Fool For Love is perfect.
The tension I've felt throughout the story ran backwards, starting with a series of slams using a door to the bathroom. A desert-bound couple on the rebound, Eddie and May (respectively played by Daniel Roach and Kristin Atkinson), verbally threw themselves at each other in a rebound of their 10-year on-and-off-again relationship as half-siblings and lovers within reach of a spector of an old man. Once the slams were done with, the couple fought with each other, embraced, and made moments that fall in between. When Eddie rolled his spurs on the floor, the end of the reversed sequence of stressors was still jarring.
Just like August Strindberg's Dance of Death, a power struggle within a couple works its best if a stranger is caught inside. Arthur Soybel made his role of Martin as a listener without playing the role of a punching bag by getting too close to the couple. Whereas the stranger in Dance of Death was more inclined to fight back, to change things - the stranger that is Martin has no power, only the knowledge that May was friends with him.
Being new to the way how playwright Shepard's uses language, I held on to the power struggle on the story by paying attention to how the couple spoke rather than what they spoke about. The Old Man, played by Crandall Diehl, was a great instigator of past memories for Eddie. Mr. Diehl made great use of his voice to goad Eddie to represent his side of the story. Even if the Old Man sounds good at convincing Eddie to stop falling for May, the relationship - no matter how disturbing in origin and its power struggle, stays on. While Eddie and the Old Man worked great together to carry out their origins, the relationship between them requires more effort from May to tell all about how she met Eddie. The latter should work better if the monologue was focused more towards the stage rather than the audience - the father/son togetherness was an advantage to the development of the story through the use of the monologues.