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Theater review: 'Brilliant Traces' at the Lounge Theatre 2

February 9, 2012 |  2:03 pm

Tessa Ferrer and Andy Wagner in “Brilliant Traces.”There are a couple of reasons why Cindy Lou Johnson's “Brilliant Traces,” initially produced nearly 25 years ago, continues to merit production. First, there's an absolutely spectacular opening scene that grabs the audience from the get-go.  Second, “Traces” is a terrific vehicle for a couple of gifted actors –- and those in the current production at the Lounge Theatre 2 are certainly that.

How's this for an opener?  Trapped in a blizzard, a young woman in a sodden wedding gown bursts into a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, ranting cryptically before collapsing in a heap of lace and satin.

This is Rosannah (Tessa Ferrer), a runaway bride apparently off her meds. Until the storm eases, she's stuck with the cabin's misanthropic owner,  Henry, (Andy Wagner,) who, for reasons yet obscure, has immured himself as far away from humanity as he can get.

Sadly, the rest of the play doesn't measure up to the clever setup.  Desultory blather trumps comprehensible plot, and among their other derangements, the characters seemingly also suffer from echolalia, persistently parroting each other's lines. Stripped of the repetition, this 90-minute piece might run about a half-hour.

Fortunately, director John Hindman and his talented performers unearth the fraught emotionalism beneath the inscrutable exchanges. Wagner displays real depth, but it is the indescribably unusual Ferrer who fascinates in a haunting turn that should be seen.


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“Brilliant Traces,” Lounge Theatre 2, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.  8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays.  Ends March 11.  $25.  Running time:  1 hour, 30 minutes.

Photo: Tessa Ferrer and Andy Wagner in Brilliant Traces. Credit: Tommy Burruss.