FOOL FOR LOVEBy Sam Shepard
The Classics Theatre Project
Directed by Van Quattro
Assistant Director – Gretchen Hahn
Stage Manager – Nat McBride
Fight Choreographer – Dean Wray
Executive Producer – Gregory Patterson
Supervising Producer – Joey Folsom
Associate Producer – Leslie Patrick
May – Sasha Maya Ada
Eddie – Joey Folsom
Martin – Braden Socia
Chris Messersmith – The Old Man
Reviewed Performance: 3/9/2019
Reviewed by Chris Hauge, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Sam Shepard’s play premiered in 1983 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for that year, takes place in a seedy motel room on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Shepard’s time placement is present day but the relationship between the two main characters could happen during any day and any time. In this motel room we meet Eddie (Joey Folsom) and May (Sasha Maya Ada). Eddie has just travelled thousands of miles to return to May after having left her for the mysterious countess. May is enraged by his return. For the next 90 minutes we watch two people wrestle with whether the pain of separation from one another is less than the pain of being together. They stage this fight in front of the past (represented by The Old Man played by Chris Messersmith) and the present (Martin played by Braden Socia, a man coming over to take May to the movies and caught in the middle of this violent reunion). And the audience is left to deal with the consequences.
There is no one listed as set designer for the production, but I wish to thank the company for the motel room that was constructed within the confines of the Margot Jones black box theater. It is sparse and past its time. Near the edge of the set is sand and an animal skull to suggest the desert and the desolation within and without the walls of this room. The Old Man sits a lawn chair at the edge, commenting on the proceedings. No one is credited for sound and light design, but both must be noted for the emphasis every time a door was slammed, or a car drove up behind the room’s curtains. The atmosphere provided for this drama by set, light and sound is excellent.
I saw another production of this play many years ago. The emphasis in that production was on the sexual tension between May and Eddie. The show produced by TCTP emphasizes the anger and pain that lives within the relationship of the two main characters and it is a valid interpretation. Eddie and May kiss and grope but it seems like two people trying to use sex to block out the inner pain that both feel rather than a pursuit of sexual fulfillment. And amidst this angst, the director and cast have given us an ample amount of humor to ease the journey through this twisted relationship. It is a testament to the talent that produced this show that it is so entertaining and fulfilling.
Van Quattro has assembled an extremely talented cast and guided them through turbulent dramatic territory. The show never seems long during its, roughly, 90 minutes running time. And the movement through a restricted space is fluid and appropriate to the mood.
Joey Folsom as Eddie is lanky and likable and easy to rile. He moves through the room with ease and menace. His Eddie is driven by his need for May and the pain of his upbringing that has followed him all his life. Mr. Folsom is completely at home in the skin of Eddie. His monologue near the end of the play show his mastery of the power and poetry of Shepard’s writing.
May is Eddie’s love and bane and Sasha Maya Ada achingly brings her to life. Driven to leave by all her instincts, May cannot fight her addiction to Eddie. And Sasha Maya Ada shows the toll that this constant push and pull has taken on her life. Reluctant to leave yet knowing her relationship with Eddie will never be stable, May is suspended in amber and is unable to be anything other than miserable. Tackling a role like this requires great courage and Sasha Maya Ada has more than enough for this role. She is wonderful to watch.
Watching these violent proceedings is The Old Man. With a raspy voice and a connection to both May and Eddie, The Old Man comments on the past and present of the two while maintaining his own innocence of any complicity with what is going on. Chris Messersmith gives the character an amiable facade that never completely masks the self-deception and cruelty that has been the hallmark of his life and relationships. Mr. Messersmith gives a powerful and revealing performance.
The man coming to take May to the movies and ends up caught up in an evening of tequila and revelations is Martin, played with humor and befuddlement by Braden Socia. Mr. Socia is such a lovable presence that you understand why May would agree to go out with him. Martin represents the kindness and acceptance that is foreign from the whirlwind of her relationship with Eddie. He provides a ballast for the audience; something normal to hold onto amidst the storm raging around him. And Mr. Socia provides laughs with his reactions and delivery and makes the events onstage easier to handle.
Sam Shepard’s play is not easy to watch, but it’s power and passion will stay with long after you have left the theatre. TCTP has given us an example of why theatre exists and why some plays are worthy of being revived again and again. Head over to Fair Park and find out for yourself.
Produced by The Classics Theatre Project
March 6 – March 30, 2019
Thursday-Saturday – 8:00 PM
Sunday, March 24, 2019 – 2:00 PM
Margo Jones Theatre, 1121 1st Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210
Fair Park (When you get to the gate, let the gate attendant know you are going to the Margot Jones Theatre and you will be directed to parking for the event).
For tickets and information to TheClassicsTheatreProject.com.