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Roxanna Kaye and Juan Lozano in Brilliant traces at the Underground Theatre.  (Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)
Roxanna Kaye and Juan Lozano in Brilliant traces at the Underground Theatre. (Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)

Brilliant Traces

Reviewed by Neal Weaver
The Underground Theatre
Through February 11

RECOMMENDED

Henry (Juan Lozano), a reclusive hermit, is asleep in his bed in a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska during a white-out blizzard. The door bursts open and a young woman, Rosannah (Roxanna Kaye), enters, wearing a wedding gown complete with veil. She seems hysterical, and on a bit of a talking jag — but before Henry can find out who she is or what she’s doing there, she passes out and keels over on the floor. He removes her bulky constraining gown and tucks her into his bed, where she proceeds to sleep for two days straight. On the third day, she wakes, uncertain of where she is or how she got there.

Eventually, Henry and Rosanna get around to introducing themselves, and he seeks to understand her situation. He learns that she’s arrived from Arizona: She’d been about to get married when, waiting to come down the aisle, she’d suddenly had a sense that her groom and all the people in the church were dead (emotionally, not literally). In a sort of fugue state, she fled — got in her car and drove madly, with no destination in mind. Henry’s astounded that she would drive for days, from Arizona to Alaska. But it seems that Rosanna simply wanted to die — till her car broke down in the middle of the snowstorm and her survival instincts kicked in. Fearing she’d perish of the cold, she wended her way to his cabin.

Henry serves a nourishing soup and fresh bread to restore her, and tells his story. He had a little daughter whom he adored, but when she was killed in a freak accident, he became a relationship-shy recluse.

A bone of contention arises when he puts her expensive (but nearly demolished) wedding shoes in the oven, presumably in an attempt to preserve them. A stormy scene ensues, with both on the defensive — trying valiantly to resist the notion that they might be mutually attracted or, heaven forfend, falling in love.

Playwright Cindy Lou Johnson has penned a fresh and quirky play, full of comedy and unexpected twists, and the two performers execute it with charm, lightness and conviction under the able direction of Kristen Boule.

There are a few problems with the logic of the piece: It’s hard to believe Rosannah could have driven for days dressed in full wedding rigout, as it would have been just been too uncomfortable, and the dress would have suffered more serious damage. The cabin, designed with wonderful attention to detail by Andy Broomell, has no visible means of heat, yet the characters were unbothered by the cold. But the element of fantasy seems to make this consideration irrelevant, or at least unimportant.

Costumes are provided by Michael Mullen, and Matt Richter supplied the lighting.

 

2Cents Theatre at The Underground Theatre, 1314 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m. http://BT2017.brownpapertickets.com or 1-800-838-3006. Running time: 85 minutes with no intermission.

 

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