Written by: Sam Shepard
Directed by: Daniel Aukin
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Production website 💉💉💉💉 out of 5.
Fool for Love passed the “gay test.” The first criteria that I look for in enjoying Sam Shepard is the amount of gay that I find on stage. Obviously I celebrate all that gay artists and particularly stage artists have done – – but I do not like gay with my Sam Shepard. If it isn’t 100% straight, then it just doesn’t tell the story and fits like bad, off-the-rack clothing.
This play was bleak and sexually explosive. Seldom did they ever mention the sex act and even more seldom they didn’t go to the easy, cheap overplayed crudeness in language that would fuel a play say by David Mamet. Little was said or done with the sexuality but you won’t find a play that smokes with lust more then this.
Toxic relations are the name of the day. The central theme of the play is, “Go, get the hell out of my life. I’m over you, I hope you die. I hope I never see you again followed seconds later by, “Stay. Stay. If you leave I will die. I can’t make it without you. I’ll endure any hurt to keep you in my bed.” A confusing way to play out a love life, for sure!
Usually when you come into a theatre you are blown away by either the excitement of the set with a curtain open or the beautiful opulence of the rich red velvet curtain. Here no. Here they actually found a fire curtain (curtain hung in all theatres to be dropped in the emergency of a fire) that was long abandoned. It was faded, ripped, stained and molded over. And this wasn’t ome scene painters work – – it was the result of years of abandoned care. Much like the characters of this play.
A ceiling dropped down to the heads of the actors, walls so think that you could actually slam stage doors (not usual), crapped furniture, and filthy sheets. A woman (Tony Award winning Nina Arianda from Venus in Fur fame) sitting on an unmade bed, legs splayed, head in lap, a man (movie star Sam Rockwell) sitting upstage center stretching out his well worn cowboy boats, and an old man sitting in kind of chair we all throw away when we move. Show starts and this tableau sits for minutes – – full long minutes and we know the fuse is soon to be lit. The first line of the play from Eddie’s mouth, “May, look. May? I’m not goin; anywhere. See? I ‘m right here. I’m not gone.” And we know he will never leave – – and we know that it’s the worst decision he will ever make.