ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES
June 10, 2014
Commands fly, and people hurtle through the terminal. Looks like just another mother and son bickering, or grandmother hauling luggage – your typical traveler. But not so fast, the man in charge blows a whistle admonishing the travelers for not being believable. Tall, intense and lacking a sense of humor, Quentin (Bill Champion) is in charge of the motley under-cover crew. His task is to intercept a terrorist passing through the terminal.
In the midst of this humorous real-life rehearsal a no-nonsense woman, backpack slung over her shoulder, Ez (Elizabeth Baag) breaks into the mêlée. She’s there to keep watch over the one man, Barry (Kim Wall) who can ID the terrorist.
Quentin alludes to Ez’s original meteoric rise in the military to her current “probationary” status. Socially isolated, Ez recoils from touch or any personal conversations, and that proves problematic when Barry arrives. Chatty and incessantly upbeat, Barry struggles with every fiber of his body to make human contact.
In the course of the first half, the plot dives back and forth into flashbacks of Ez’s life. After intermission, the first part is repeated, verbatim (fortunately it retains it’s entertainment value) and the flashbacks reveal Barry’s back-story. A loved one betrays both people. But in response to her experiences, Ez builds an ironclad wall around her emotions, while Barry retains a perpetual optimism that is tarnished at the end.
Both Ms. Boag and Mr. Wall are outstanding in their roles. In one particularly humorous exchange, Barry genially carries on and on about the weather. Finally, Ez asks if everyone from Yorkshire shares his buoyant, talkative personality. Barry seriously claims that in Yorkshire, he’s considered quiet.
Alan Ayckbourn drills into the disturbed, quiet places hidden inside people that either form a smooth, invisible scar or display an open wound. Humor and humanity infiltrate his universal stories at NYC’s 59E59 Theater.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis