Volume 93, Issue 85
Friday, March 10, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fool much smarter than it sounds
CAN WE USE THE WHIP TONIGHT, HONEY? NO, I'VE GOT THIS FUNNY FEELING MY DAD'S WATCHING. Jef Clarke and Tiffany Koch deny themselves forbidden fruits in Fool For Love
By Stephanie Truscott
Fool for Love is a lot like a rodeo ride it's intense, fast, violent and over much too quickly.
With a running time of just barely over one hour, every second of this extremely engaging play is charged with emotional intensity. This dramatic fervor can be directly accredited to the moving performances of the leading actors Jef Clarke and Tiffany Koch.
This one-act Sam Shepard play, directed by Jeff Glickman and playing at that Old Factory Theatre, involves a cowboy named Eddie (Clarke) and a small town girl named May (Koch) who are involved in a tumultuous, on-again-off-again relationship. Their destructive, yet passionate love reminds one of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.
The play takes place in a cheap, run-down motel room, which also serves as May's home. Eddie comes to the motel after being away for a while and finds, to his surprise, that May has found herself a job and a new man. Eddie's jealousy soon turns into disbelief and the remainder of the play is spent waiting for him to show up.
In the meantime, Eddie's old flame, unseen by the audience, shows up in a rage, sending Eddie scrambling to the floor in fear for his life. Now it is May's turn to get jealous and a heated argument ensues, sending Martin, "the new man," (Michael Longstaff) bursting through the door in defence of May.
Eddie and Martin finally meet, where, in an attempt to get back at May, Eddie reveals a rather unpleasant secret May is his half-sister and they've been involved in an incestuous relationship for the past 15 years. After this disclosure things begin to fall apart for everyone.
Adding a very strange element to the play is a character known as The Old Man, who is wonderfully played by David Conter. He sits in a rocking chair downstage right, interacting with the other characters, although the audience is never quite sure if the characters can see him or not. Conter is utterly captivating in his role, developing a glassy-eyed stare as he relates stories about his life and family.
Longstaff is perfectly cast as Martin, the straight-laced gentlemen caller. His boyish face and ridiculous mustache make him the perfect target for Eddie's razor sharp wit. In one splendid scene, the audience has a hardy laugh at his expense.
In a truly gutsy performance, the sweet, doomed May is tossed her around the room, where she not only engages in passionate kissing but takes off her clothes and sheds real tears. Here, Koch is outstanding.
There is one notable scene in which Koch describes the obsessive love her mother had for The Old Man. The actress becomes so fully immersed in her character that one almost believes the story is her own. In this sad monologue, each line is delivered with such gripping emotion that tears not only begin to well up in her eyes, but in the eyes of everyone in the audience as well.
However, Clarke's performance as Eddie is worth the price of admission alone. Eddie is cocky, vulgar and violent, but Clarke makes him extremely likable. His performance is so utterly flawless and of such high calibre, it makes this play a must see.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000