There are always things in life that anchor us to the past. For May in Sage Theatre’s Fool For Love, it’s Eddie.
The lights come on and we’re introduced to May (Jamie Konchak) and Eddie (David MacInnis), clearly in the midst of a fight in her motel room. They push and pull at each other, illustrating their love/hate relationship through outbursts and volatility. Slowly, we realize that May is waiting for her new boyfriend Martin (Kevin Rothery), to take her to the movies, when Eddie, her ex boyfriend had come to see her. Eddie pulls May back into their own history and fantasy and reality overlap. The Old Man (Shaun Johnston) makes an appearance as May and Eddie dive into the story of their past.
Upon first meeting May, she seems really young, wanting Eddie to stay and go, going back and forth with explosions of emotion. When she gains strength and tells him to leave, or demands the truth about him seeing another woman (I’ll believe the truth, it’s less complicated), she just loses all that strength when he threatens to leave. Eddie for his part is manipulative and aggressive (you can’t escape me, I’m never leaving) and has this slimy air about him. She knows how to keep May where he wants her, he knows how to have her doubt herself. By contrast, Martin is mild mannered and humble. He is easily pushed around by Eddie.
The play is an unsettling tale about the threads that keep relationships together and the forces that push them apart. It is a highly emotional, relentlessly cathartic narrative that leaves the audience slightly unsettled when it comes to a close. The constant push and pull is a little grating, leaving the viewer wishing that Eddie would either decide to stay or go, but clearly that is not possible. It’s almost like there is no escaping the past.
The compelling aspect of Fool For Love is the acting. Konchak throws herself into her role and sticks herself to her character. MacInnis is precise in his portrayal of Eddie, even down to his manipulative smile. Rothery is great as the mild mannered Martin, blending into the background when he is supposed to.
Terry Gunvordahl makes use of the small space of the space at the Joyce Doolittle theatre, putting flowers on the wood paneling of the set. The Old Man sits in a chair off to the left of the stage, and this choice allows him to be separated and part of the action simultaneously. Though he was hard to see from this reviewer’s seat in the audience (though being short probably didn’t help in that regard).
The sound design of the play is something to note, as it adds to the eerie feeling of the play whenever a door is slammed.
Fool For Love is a play that examines the craziness of love and how it can consume the people involved. Sam Shepard wasn’t lying when he said it was to be played relentlessly.
Fool for Love plays at the Pumphouse theatre until the 17th of March. Tickets available online.
Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz