Have you ever ever wished for a do-over in life? Possibly have a final dialog with a cherished one, and at last put “closed” in your mutual historical past? That is what the brand new play by Brenda Withers, at the moment displaying at Shadowland Phases in Ellenville by way of October 1, makes an attempt to do. Directed by Brendan Burke, “Off Peak,” gives us a seat, and invitations us alongside for the journey as Martin, performed by Steve Brady, and Sarita, performed by Mary McCann, run into one another one night on the Metro-North Hudson Line. An opportunity assembly offers a possibility for these two former companions to dissect their relationship, how and why it ended, and even delve into modern-day political problems with gender, equality, and the minefield that lies beneath office interactions and is the stuff of HR nightmares.
These two wonderful actors embody these characters properly, displaying the depth and complexity of feelings pure to such an encounter. The pair begin off with nervous rambling however ultimately chill out somewhat, participating in some light-hearted banter, and filling within the gaps of what every has skilled over the 20 years since their relationship ended. Exchanging particulars about their present relationships, jobs, pursuits, and even the demise of family members, the duo ultimately get round to discussing the hurts they inflicted on one another, their regrets, and the way every helped form the lifetime of the opposite.
Martin and Sarita appear to start out on reverse sides of the emotional spectrum. He’s contrite, apologetic, filled with remorse. She seems to have solely fond recollections, and acts genuinely glad to see him and reminisce. However, when Martin references an e-mail he despatched to Sarita within the latest previous, Sarita admits to not having learn it. He confesses to desirous about her on a regular basis, desirous to make amends for placing his needs and desires earlier than her. “I handled you want an viewers,” he says. “I demanded your consideration for a fairly unhealthy present.” He’s fixated on attempting to make it as much as her, however we additionally get the sense he’s not being fairly truthful.
Sarita doesn’t wish to hear his apologies. She says she shouldn’t be dwelling on the previous, holds no grudges, and but, flashes with anger at his repeated makes an attempt at regret, saying, “I’ve an issue with somebody telling me what my downside is.” We, the viewers, (and Martin) suspect Sarita shouldn’t be fairly as sanguine as she claims to be. Every seems to be holding one thing again and hiding behind the niceties of social conference that dictate how two digital strangers are purported to behave with each other. But they aren’t strangers, and their mutual previous informs the individuals they’ve turn out to be. They should strip off these layers and discover the individuals they have been beneath the individuals they’re. How then, will the 2 of them unpack their advanced emotions and discover the center floor that permits for closure and true acceptance?
“Off Peak” is an intimate expertise. Performed within the Shadowlands “studio” house, with a max capability that hovers round 100, this black field theater leaves the actors nowhere to cover from the viewers, simply as Martin and Sarita, alone of their practice automotive, can’t conceal from each other. The set, a cross-section of practice seats hewn from a retired Metro-North automotive, cocoon the 2 actors, offering a claustrophobic house the place there’s nowhere to go, and every of them, and their relationship, in below a microscope laid naked for all to look at. It offers for a tense character research the place these two, extremely relatable, middle-aged individuals not solely grapple with their previous, however permits us to look at our personal relationships and query our personal attitudes about redemption and backbone.
“Off Peak” might be carried out by way of October 1 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Shadowland Phases Studio is situated at 14 Market Avenue, Ellenville. The present’s run time is 75 minutes with no intermission.