A man. A woman. Both seared by childhoods no child should endure. Both with an urge to drink far too much. Other than that they seemingly have utterly no thing else in common save the city in which dwell. A homeless young woman from England with a free sexuality. A grimly serious businessman in New York who cannot, will not touch others. Not quite two decades in age between them.
If this sounds like a redemptive romance of some kind, you are both right and wrong. Ruth Fowler's bled for the household truth turns out to contain so much more than romance, than redemption. Watching it made me laugh out loud, squirm in fascinated horror, almost weep, certainly look away (but always look back), catch my throat in moments of intense deja vu. That last seems especially important because in most ways my life resembles theirs even less than do each others'. In terms of detail, anyway.
Both felt like me, though. Or vice versa. Even though much of their lives seem unimaginable.
|Credit: Joe Perrin Flynn
Clearly, a man with issues. Who of course would agree to such a thing if not desperate or with complementary issues of her own? Or both.
Most of the play consists of these two alone in the apartment. For the record the set by John Iocovelli helped make this work brilliantly, along with direction by Cameron Watson. Ditto sound design by Chris Moscatiello, which an often startling but always effective choice of music between scenes, which in a mostly two character play needing time for the players to change costume, can be (and in this case proves to be) vital. Kudos too to dialect coach Tracey Winters.
Pen and Keith's story does not form an obvious arc, although the emotional trajectory feels like a roller coaster of the soul at times. It delves into disturbing and very intimate elements of human experience, including talk about bowel movements. I suspect many would find more offensive the sexuality up to and including masturbation, as well as definite acts of betrayal by them both. Or what many would see as betrayal.
|Credit: Joe Perrin Flynn
Frankly some will dislike how it ends. No climax as we understand it happens, although a powerful threshold is reached, a corner is turned that must alter them both. But again, not a conventional story arc. Again, an emotional roller coaster of the soul, made possible by a pair of actors who allowed themselves to bleed all over that stage and each other.
bled for the household truth plays Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 3pm until December 28, 2017 at The Met, 1089 North Oxford (near Santa Rosa & Western) Los Angeles CA 90029. This play includes nudity and other elements some may find offensive.