Tuesday, October 09, 2007

review of Departures--GO SEE IT

Both Keira Keeley and Travis York give performances of extraordinary focus and intensity, which only ups the tension for us. They're acting under a microscope, and yet they're entirely in their own world even with the "real" world pressing in so closely—in much the way lovers in a disintegrating relationship often are entirely absorbed in their own emotional states, regardless of what else is happening around them. It's a very discomfiting way to watch such an intimate play—even more voyeuristic than eavesdropping on a couple fighting in a restaurant, because these two are hashing things out in the privacy of their own room. It's a very simple story—and Palmer is wise enough to keep it that way, to make the story develop through the details we learn about Andrew and Cara, rather than through plot twists or high-stakes events. They're just two pretty messed-up, emotionally fragile people trying to keep all their worst impulses from destroying each other—and not succeeding too terribly well. The play is a series of tiny revelations, little cracks in one or the other's armor hastily papered over or shied away from. We learn as much from watching Keeley and York's faces—or from the set of their shoulders, from the tiniest physical details—as they react to each other's barbs, as we do from what they say.

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