A traumatic twist of fate causes two couples -- each of separate one acts -- to examine the course their lives have taken in the July 19-Aug. 6 world premiere of Alan Brown's Light: Damage, at Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
The piece, opening July 21 after previews, is said to examine "how people define themselves" in the face of violent events. The New York playwright's work, two interrelated one-acts focusing on a married senior-citizen couple and two high school boys, respectively, was to have played April 28-May 14 but was bumped to summer owing to the spring extension of Wit at the Equity house.
Sidonie Garrett and Cynthia Levin co-direct the staging, featuring Brian Paulette as Brad, Shawn Halliday as Chad, Nancy Marcy as Bev and Richard Alan Nichols as Henry.
The first act follows a husband and wife of 25 years, who are trapped in the wreckage of a car accident. The second act centers on two high school boys who confront each other after one of them is physically assaulted by classmates because of his sexual orientation.
"Though the characters and their stories may, at first, seem unrelated," Brown said in production notes, "they are, in fact, profoundly connected by this idea: that a single twist of fate has the power to change lives; that a single moment has forced them all to examine their notions of trust, redemption, knowing another person, and forgiving or withholding forgiveness from that person." Brown added, "I've always been fascinated by how a single turn or decision can change an entire life or many lives. These characters aren't connected except by an event that forces them all to redefine who they want to be, and how they perceive the 'other,' whether spouse or enemy. In the face of adversity, the characters must confront and admit to the lies on which they have based their sense of self. This ultimately changes the very nature of the way they relate to the world and each other."
Brown will be the guest at a post-show discussion on July 22.
Designers are Adriana Sandoval (set and props), Georgianna Londre (costume designer), Jeff Cady (lighting), David Keihl (sound).
Brown is a novelist, journalist and playwright whose novel, "Audrey Hepburn's Neck," was published by Simon & Schuster in 1996. The book is currently being made into a feature film, directed by Griffin Dunne, for which Brown wrote the screenplay. His plays include Kill the Buddha and Romantic Arrangements. Brown is a contributing editor to Travel & Leisure magazine and was a cultural correspondent for The Los Angeles Times 1980-1990.
Tickets are $10-$20. For information, call (816) 531-7529, ext. 10.
-- By Kenneth Jones