Theater review | 'Orange Flower Water' is demanding, rewarding adultery drama
Theater review: New Century Theatre Company mounts its second thrilling production in the adultery-themed "Orange Flower Water," produced in conjunction with and playing at ACT Theatre, June 24-July 20, 2009.
Special to the Seattle Times
"Orange Flower Water"By Craig Wright, plays Wednesdays-Sundays through July 19, plus Monday July 20, produced by New Century Theatre Company with ACT Theatre's Central Heating Lab, at 700 Union Ave., Seattle; $20-$25 (206-292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org).
Theater Review |
New Century Theatre Company aims to produce plays that ask more questions than they answer, provocative plays that probe the human psyche and address the moral issues that test us all.
The Seattle debut production of "Orange Flower Water" does all that and more.
Deftly directed by Allison Narver and fearlessly acted by a brilliant cast, the play leaves its audience emotionally exhausted yet intellectually exhilarated.
"Orange Flower Water" is a tale of adultery and its fallout. Adultery may be an ancient vice, but New Century Theatre couldn't have known when they selected this play how pertinent it would be today.
David (Hans Altwies), married to Cathy (Jennifer Lee Taylor), is having an affair with Beth (Betsy Schwartz) who's married to Brad (Ray Gonzalez). The couples live in the same town, travel in the same circles, have kids who play on the same sports teams. None of these characters is evil. They are just flawed humans like all the rest of us.
Playwright Craig Wright, who wrote for the popular TV series "Six Feet Under," is a master at dialogue that manages to sound exactly like everyday speech — despite the fact that it is far wittier and deliciously more biting.
His play opens with a love letter to David from his wife. It closes with a love letter from David to his daughter. In between, we, the audience sit in judgment. Who's guilty? Can anyone be said to be innocent? What power does religion have in all this? Can reality ever truly mirror our dreams for it? Can passion really last, and if not what are you left with? How do we weigh our responsibility to ourselves against that to others?
The cast mesmerizes its audience. The red-hot lovemaking is luscious. The fights are blistering. The pain is palpable, and the ecstasy is sybaritic. Most action takes place on or around the bed that's the central item on a nearly bare but elegant stage set. Yet even when the characters step away from the bed — such as to cheer their children at invisible soccer matches — their nervous gestures, awkward tics, and thrusts and parries couldn't be more perfect.
It's taken almost a year since New Century's stunning debut with "The Adding Machine" for the company to gather the funding to mount this second play. Let's hope a third one comes much sooner.
Nancy Worssam: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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