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Shooting Star

a Comedy
CATEGORY :
by Steven Dietz

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 3668

SHOWING : February 12, 2010 - March 10, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Sparks fly and snowflakes fall as two old flames meet by chance in a blizzard bound airport. Reed, a suit-and-tie with Blackberry, and Elana, a bohemian with rain stick, were once idealistic college lovers. Here they reconnect and share stories deep into the night. Humor, heartache, secrets, and snow. When morning comes and all flights are cleared for departure – what’s the final destination for these two?

A delicious, bittersweet comedy with heart and bite.


CAST & CREW LIST
director Jeff Adler
set and costume design Isabel curley-clay
set and costume design Moriah curley-clay
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REVIEWS

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The People We're Done With
by Dedalus
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
5.0
We all have them. People we’re close to, extremely close to, who, for one reason or another, drop completely out of our lives. “People we’re done with.” Ex-lovers, friends who move to distant cities, classmates we only thought we were close to, family members who grow alien, even parents and children who have chosen a different life-way.

What can happen when an “Ex-Person” accidently crosses our path?

Such is the premise of Steven Dietz’ bittersweet comedy, “Shooting Star,” currently enjoying an outstanding production at Horizon Theatre. Reed and Elena shared almost two years of intimacy back in their carefree college days of the 1970’s. They went their separate ways and became quite different people. Now they meet again, stranded in a snowbound airport, waiting for connecting flights that may never come. Reed is now an unhappily buttoned-down executive, going from Boston to Austin to land a contract he knows he’ll never win. Elena is still a free spirit, enroute from Austin to Boston to help “spiritually cleanse” a friend. He carries a cell phone and a laptop, she carries a meditation mat and a rain stick.

They haven’t met or talked in over twenty-five years. Now, through the course of one long airport night, they reconnect, catch-up, re-open own wounds, pick at new ones, and gradually reveal to each other the unexpected paths their “post-us” lives have taken. Will this “re-connect” be a lasting one, or are they simply two old friends, passing in the night, struggling to keep someone else from becoming “someone I’m done with?” One of the joys of this play is discovering the unexpected answer to this question.

Jim Hammond and Leigh Campbell-Taylor inhabit rather than play these characters. On stage for the entire 85-minute running time, they charm us and each other, making us truly wonder how “far they’ll go” in the public spaces of the airport set. Embodying completely opposite characteristics, it’s still easy to see how compatible they are, in that oddly compelling way opposites can attract. They speak in the same rhythms, laugh at the same jokes, love the same music. They are still, after all these years, completely comfortable with each other, able to enjoy long silences as much as shared memories. These two performances completely sell the back-story, the history these two shared, the possibilities of a future that may come (or be sidestepped).

I loved how Dietz’ dialogue completely characterizes them, how it can effortlessly zip from funny rumination to wistful regret. For example, after Reed cites arguments over NPR when asked what he remembers most about their time together, Elena sighs and says “I wish your fondest memory had been something with a little more ache.” There wasn’t a line in the entire piece that felt contrived or out-of-place. Even their “break-the-fourth-wall” asides to us seemed natural, as if all of us have an audience in our heads we talk to.

Production-wise, Horizon has again put together a winner. From the intern dressed as a stewardess giving the curtain speech, to the set that evoked any and all airport terminals we’ve been stranded in, to the snow drifting down outside the frosted floor-to-ceiling windows, to the seventies music Reed keeps on his laptop, to Elena’s still-trendy-after-all-these-years costumes (yes, she changes clothes in an airport), to the loudspeaker interrupting at all the wrong moments, to the digital clock that keeps track of just when we are, everything clicked. Director Jeff Adler has created a world that lives and breathes as readily as these characters.

It’s good that the play is set in 2005, as more recent innovations in social networking may be making the “people we’re done with” concept obsolete. I myself have “friended” a number of people I haven’t seen or even talked to since graduating High School in 1971. Still there are definitely people out there that who were once part of my life, whom I often think about, who no doubt took intriguing life paths that would make marvelous stories. I even regret the fact that I am an “ex-person” in so many lives.

Dylan sings “Seen a shooting star tonight, And I thought of you.” I saw “Shooting Star” last night, and I thought of many people, people who were once in my life, people who are still in my life, even people I’ve never met, like all of you. It’s that kind of play – warm, and funny, and moving, and entirely memorable. I strongly recommend you make it part of your life.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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