Kelly Lusk’s (a love story) is more a story of loves than a single tale. There’s man-woman love, boy-girl love, boy-boy love and even boy-plant love and as the song says, they all hurt. Its part of At First Sight, the return to production of new plays by IU MFA candidates.
In the neatly laid out staging directed by Paul Daily, David Chervony, Emily Mange and Zach Trinkle act as a chorus. Sometimes each does comment or offer brief individual explanations, but they are at their dramatic best as the voices of a trio of puppet plants worked by Colin Landberg and Jennifer Smith.
Andrea Mellos and Adam St. John are the man-woman who unite through blog sex and a fantasy that he’s her dead husband. Jacob Duffy Halblieb is the abused boy and Jacque Emord-Netzley the hopeful girl of the boy-girl pair. There’s actually a bit of a triangle here as Halblieb’s plants are pretty jealous. Matt Bloom and Nick Pecoraro are the boys.
Lusk’s play develops in more or less real time over a span of four days with separate individual scenes that explore the characters and their relationships. (a love story) is very much a dialog driven play and especially in the second act some speeches will probably be cut down in future productions. The individual scenes complement and expand on one another. They link up in intellectually satisfying ways. In each of the pairings, there’s tension, exploration, hope, some tender moments and even some affection.
I love going to the theatre and the mystery of what’s going to happen. Its fun to revisit a classic or to see an established piece for the first time, but a chance to see brand new plays is a special treat.
Kelly Lusk’s (a love story) at the Wells-Metz Theatre alternates with Nathan Davis’s Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea . Dontrell… plays Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at two. (a love story) has its final performance Saturday at 7:30.