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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Soulstice’s Unspeakably Beautiful Love Song

Theater Review

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The complexities of romance and the human psyche are explored with striking insight in John Kolvenbach’s 2008 comedy Love Song. Co-directed by Char Manny and Josh Perkins, Soulstice Theatre’s production of the play deftly draws out Kolvenbach’s complexities in an intimate staging at the Marian Center.

Jason Thompson stars as Beane, a socially autistic gentleman who values simplicity above all else. He keeps his possessions to a minimum and keeps mostly to himself. As the play opens, we see the walls of his tiny apartment closing-in on him. Thompson has a captivating vulnerability about him that is thrown into disarray when his apartment gets broken into by a violently excited burglar named Molly, played with explosive, emotionally revolutionary passion by Liz Mistele. Mistele has perfect poise for this kind of comically poetic drama.

   Molly is the exact opposite of Beane. Naturally, Beane and Molly fall in love. The change that overcomes Beane causes considerable concern from his sister Joan (Jillian Smith) and her husband Harry (Matthew Michaelis.) Though they don’t play the roles nearly as straight, stuffy and conservative as the script seems to be leaning toward, Smith and Michaelis make for a charming married couple with a temperament that cleverly contrasts against the wild energy of the Beane and Molly dynamic.

The poetry in Kolvanbach’s dialogue sounds remarkably natural as it respires through the cast. Thompson is given some particularly surreal bits of poetry to breathe and he manages to render them with a staggering amount of emotional reality. As abstract and nonlinear as it can all seem at times, Thompson gives it an earthbound delivery that is breathtakingly natural. He shares a poetic duet with Mistele near the end of the play that is unspeakably beautiful.

Soulstice Theatre’s production of Love Song runs through June 5 at the Marian Center for Nonprofits.

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