Photo by Don Kellogg

Friday, November 23, 2007

Doris to Darlene - A Cautionary Valentine

Jordan Harrison is cute - and by the way - he has written a gem which is now playing at Playwrights Horizons . Doris to Darlene, a cautionary valentine is delightful. It requires little advance explanation except to say that Jordan has penned a tale in which music, art and love transcends 3 different eras.

It's told to you like a story - often in the 3rd person - from the perspective of 3 seemingly very different young boys and girls. Wagner and King Ludwig II (the 1800's) , Doris (Darlene) and Vic Watts (1960's) and Mr. Campani and "Young Man" in classroom (current).

What on earth could these people have in common? You guessed it - Music! Each story for it's own era has a different twist but music and love and art permeate each. Young King Ludwig II (Laura Heisler) funded the older Wagner's (David Chandler) musical endeavors (Operas) and was deeply affected and influenced by the deep emotions and splendor he created. Doris, or Darlene as she became, ( de'Adre Aziza) was a creation of Vic Watts (Michael Crane) a "Phil Spector like" music exec in the 1960's. In this story we see a glimpse into the all too familiar story of a young black girl brought to overnight fame by a high flying music exec who fell in love with his client (or was it her music?). Lastly, we witness a young, gay high school boy coming of age (Tobias Segal) who becomes infatuated with his music teacher - a complex older gay gentleman with his own set of issues and desires (Tom Nelis).

Two acts - one hour each. Act I could probably be a bit shorter and crisper - which would make Act II even better. By far Act II is where the story unfolds and the dots are connected on the brilliantly designed ever circulating set (just like a spinning record) among the 3 stories.

Get out your running shoes out. This gem is not to be missed!