Sunday, March 29, 2015

Free Fall

Play #75 - Free Fall by Char Nelson

Charley sits cleaning a saddle when his ex-wife Brisa comes looking for him - or rather, for the saddle. They argue about their son Davy, they argue about the saddle, but mostly they argue about Charley's recent accident and what it says about him. He had taken his horse Lightning out to the highest part of the mountains to hunt for Elk. He bagged a big one, loaded up his pack mule with as much as it could carry, and started the ride back. However, the mule slid and pulled him and Lightning down - he was crushed, he cut the mule loose and it fell to its death, and Lightning stayed with him and helped him to safety. Brisa explained to him that this accident and his relationship with Lightning are perfect metaphors for what is wrong with his human relationships. Lightning will do whatever he tells her to do because he takes care of her, and he shows her respect - something she feels he has never done for his wife and child. In the end, she takes her saddle and tells him to stick with his horse - the only person he'll ever love.

I have to admit, I found this brief exchange a little bit boring. It was basically a play entirely about the past. Nothing happened, there was nothing truly at stake. They were just rehashing what is clearly an old argument. In the theatre, the most exciting events are the things that happen for the first time or the last time. This was definitely not the first time they had had this fight, and I have a sneaking suspicion it won't be the last. The language is poetic, but there was just nothing that made me think this conversation was going to mean anything in the long run. 

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