Theater review: ‘Askance’ at Eclectic Company Theatre
Centered around the troubled residents of a soon-to-be-shuttered assisted living facility, Lordygan’s drama employs parallel timelines to unravel the mysterious ties between Milly (Kenlyn Kanouse) and Irving (Joseph Cardinale), a constantly bickering elderly couple (is there any other kind in a nursing home play?), and their dementia-afflicted fellow tenant, Sylvia (Ivy Jones).
On the plus side, the plot is capably constructed, alternating scenes between present-day Milly and Irving, preparing for their imminent eviction, and their youthful 1950s selves (Beth Ricketson, Adam Coggins) in the early stages of their relationship. The two timelines converge in the traumatic reveal that has shaped the course of the marriage.
Keeping the pivotal events under wraps until the finale effectively emphasizes the play’s message about the destructive effect of unspoken truths. Trying to speak them is where the play runs into problems. The labored dialogue bears little resemblance to the way people talk, from oddly cryptic exchanges (“Where did you go?” — “Just into the darkness”) to awkward anachronisms (Irving’s WWII recollection about his urging liberated Dachau prisoners to “Do your thing” to their captors). Stream-of-consciousness monologues immersing us in Sylvia’s deteriorating mind are particularly overwrought.
-- Philip Brandes
“Askance,” Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays (dark Dec. 24, 25 and 31). Ends Feb. 12. $25. (818) 508-3003 or www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Photo: Kenlyn Kanouse and Joseph Cardinale. Credit: David Nott.