"Two Rooms"

(09-30-2010)

A review by Linda Relyea

With slight trepidation, I settled into the Adams State College Main State Theatre seat. I knew the premise of "Two Rooms", a love story about a couple separated by a terrorist act. The husband, Michael Wells, taken hostage in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, in his cell and the wife, Lanie Wells, in his study -- cleared of all furnishing -- back in the United States.

Yet, I was soon caught in the gripping story, told without added drama or emotional manipulation. True, throughout the play I felt for anyone who has ever been a victim of those circumstances but it unfolded as any good plot -- engaging my interest and transporting me into alternate realities. I appreciated the philosophical musing of Michael (Jacob Sorling) and Lanie's (Kaitlyn Perham) solidarity with Michael.

The first act seemed to have the theme of hope, a buzz word for Ellen Von Oss (Eleanor Smith), the state department representative, and a life preserver for Lanie. Time, a distant reality for Michael, was the thread running through the second act. Walker Harris (Mason Miller) used time to manipulate and lead Lanie in fulfilling his professional goals. Lanie bridged time and distance to connect with Michael, allowing time to pass without markers.

Both the government and the media betray Lanie's trust, but they are all she has under the precarious situation. She and Michael create a fortress of devotion and their love sustains them. Michael, blindfolded and at the mercy of his captors, wears their love as a shield. The trappings Lanie wears are not tangible but just as binding. Her love for Michael nourishes her strength and commitment to free him.

The playwright keeps the reporter and state department characters from falling into predictable stereotypes. He allows the audience to determine where the boundaries lie between career goals, professionalism and human connection. Lanie and Michael garner empathy without melodrama or hysteria. The writing is contemporary and intelligent and the actors bring their characters to life.

"Two Rooms" is a great love story. It refrains from judgment and uniquely illustrates love's power.

"Two Rooms", written by Lee Blessing and directed by Jenna Nielsen, opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, on the Adams State College Main Stage and continues at 8 p.m. October 2, 7, 8, and 9; with a 2 p.m. matinee on October 10. Tickets are $10 for general public, $8 for seniors and students, $6 for children 12 and under, and free to Associated Students and Faculty. Call 719-587-TIXX for reservations.

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