New York legend Terry Schreiber is once again in the directing chair for a new revival of Michael Weller’s 1979 work “Loose Ends” running at the T. Schreiber Studios until April 15th. The play follows the story of Paul and Susan, two people who fall in love while in Bali in 1970, and as luck will have it, find each other a little later in life, capturing a whole decade while their relationship grows and ultimately fades. Exploring the roles of men and women back then, and how they were changing, the play raises some serious questions about what we are willing to give and take. What we are willing to sacrifice for love. The problem is, that’s the only theme that still holds some relevance in today’s society.
That’s not to say the production doesn’t work. The script still feels fresh with clever dialogue that has not only held up well, but that shows Weller’s talent. His plays always felt like love letters to the times in which they were created and this one is no exception. The supporting cast was also marvelous, creating the best scene around the main characters and working through the sluggish pace of the production with ease. It was with them that the heart of the show beat.
On the other hand, the two main characters portrayed by Loren Bidner and Sarah Mae Vink, are not the type of people you feel inclined to cheer for. It doesn’t help that both actors give us one dimensional performances that show characters unwilling to improve for one another or compromise. How can we sympathize with a couple that seem ill-suited to begin with?
The production is also hurt by long transitions that seem unnecessary to the product. What could have been done in a more minimalistic way and be more effective, was bogged down by elaborate set pieces that seemed out of place. While the costume design of the piece was excellent, the set design left a lot to be desired, and at times took attention from what was happening on stage. This all contributed to an overblown running time in which we were asked to care about two people that only care about each other, and to root for their eventual fate. While the play seemed perfect for the times, I don’t see the point of a revival today.
I’ve seen many productions at the T. Schreiber Studios, and I’ve never been disappointed until now. “Loose Ends” is not a terrible show, but it is not a great one and the only thing we left with was the question “What was the point of reviving that play?” After two and half hours, we should have gotten more.
Out of four stars:
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