I like a good mystery. I really do and for me going to the theatre, even if I’ve previously read or seen the play always begins like a mystery. As the lights dim I’m asking, What’s happening? Where are we? What time is it? Who dunnit?
Henry Murray’s Woodward/Newman Award winning Three Views of the Same Object at the Bloomington Playwrights Project directed by Dina Epshteyn is a mystery fans delight and a good deal more. Three couples, two with a husband and wife one with just the wife and a pair of her husband’s shoes go through the motions of a final day.
Gerard Pauwels and Francesca Sobrer are Poppy 1 and Jesse 1. Ken Farrell and Darrell Gamache Stone are Poppy 1 and Jesse 2. The pair of shoes is all that’s left of Poppy 3 and Kate Braun is the widowed Jesse 3. All three sets of characters go through their day in an intricately organized and directed play oblivious to one another. Gail Bray plays the only character who can see and be seen by all the others.
At first simply figuring out the parallel lives of Three Views is a pleasant challenge, but quickly a real interest and even concern for the characters in this very well acted play develops. Pauwels is always on even in a character whose strength is a certain dogged grasp. Sobrer as his bitterly angry and disappointed mate was a frightening and yet sympathetic figure. Farrell and Stone were a dapper pair as they sought to milk the final pleasures from a life together. The widowed Braun was by turns pathetic, angry and even thoughtful. Bray was quite perfect as a resourceful friendly, helpful busybody.
Each of the three couples had made a vow to choose their own time to end their lives when increasing pain or incompetence took over, but that vow only puts the focus of the very warm and passionate play on life and its details…it’s pleasures, its disappointments and the way in which how we look at something effects it and us.