WVWC Dept. of Theatre and Dance presents Fool For Love (2019)

Written by Sam Shepard in the ’80s, this one-act play features just four actors/characters; this production was student-directed, and one of the lead roles was played by one of my students. (I was going to go anyway, but was extra excited when I heard that.) It was phenomenal; I’m so glad I went.

The whole thing takes place in a hotel room in a desert, where May is staying. She has just received an unexpected guest, Eddie, who appears to be a former lover. He wants to take her away to live in a trailer; she doesn’t want to go. They argue and argue and argue… she says she’s expecting a date, but Eddie isn’t sure he believes her. A strange man sits in one corner of the room, only occasionally interacting with the two main characters. Eventually Martin, the new date, does show up, and the three continue a confrontation of sorts. The story of Eddie and May, their past and their relationship, eventually becomes clear. The actual, present-tense action is fairly sparse; the plot is formed more by the backstory related in dialog than by the events within the play itself, although there are some small but significant developments there, too.

The strengths of the play as written are all about tone and atmosphere, black humor, and the kind of frustration and quiet desperation that marks Shepard’s work (and reminds me of Tennessee Williams too). It’s a hell of a play; but I’m perhaps even more impressed at how well these college kids knocked it out of the park. (I guess I expected more from Shepard than I did from them, I confess. I saw a play at the college earlier in the semester that was so bad I didn’t bother to write about it here.) That is, the two lead roles (Eddie and May) were both played by college kids–both freshmen, no less!–while the old man was played by a member of staff, and Martin was played by I think an alumnus. Still.

They knew their lines; they delivered them powerfully; I was able to lose myself in the play and forget that it was a play at all (and saw my student in a whole new light), which is the highest achievement, I think. I came home that night in a glow of appreciation. Thanks, young people. Keep up the excellent work. I look forward to seeing Steel Magnolias in the spring!


Rating: 9 glasses.

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