Although it's hard to tell that the interlaced monologues in Robert Attenweiler's Kansas City or Along the Way are taking place in the past and future before meeting up in the play's present time of the 1930s, this is an excellent character piece. Louise (Rebecca Benhayon) narrates her half from a sense of panic for her husband left for Kansas, kids in tow, and the jaws of her dreary town snapped down on her. Joseph (Adam Groves) gets the more active storytelling, for he's a traveling guitarist trying to make good, as a line cook, as a father, as whatever it takes to improve the future. Attenweiler's a talented writer, but he deals best with action, so the final scene between the two is filled with beautiful moments (Louise's knowing bribes, Joseph's weary approval, and the metaphorical observation that when you're using newspaper for a pillow, the more bad news there is, the better one sleeps). Joe Stipek evokes a desolate atmosphere with just a few boxes and shifts in lighting, and this two-hander is very well along on its way. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "I'd rather watch tumbleweeds" and 5 being "A story I don't mind getting lost in," Kansas City or Along the Way gets a 3.5.
Monday, August 18, 2008