Saturday, July 22, 2006

There's a first time for everything

and it seems this is the first time I ever review anything here.

Tonight I joined the girls for the closing performance of K2, a play we knew little about. Frankly, my only motivation in going was to support the drama teacher, and his (very cute) brother.

I was pleasantly surprised. The story was both enjoyable and profound as the brothers, Jake and Luke Dreiling, played opposite each other in funny, sometimes poignant ways. The story is simple: two mountain climbers get stranded on a ledge with barely enough rope and supplies for only one to descend the mountain. To further complicate the situation, one of them is crippled by an injury. The choice is painfuly clear from the begining--the climber with the broken leg must perish in order for the other to return to safety and deliver a message of love to his partner's widow and child.

The action is mostly emotional, as the "well" climber battles against the mountain, enraged at their fate, while the injured climber sits and contemplates their plight, and his inevitable death.

Jake's character, weakened by the injury, is the source of strength for his partner, who may be strong physically, but always on the brink of losing it all, both emotionally and physically.

The play explores their relationship as friends, and their relationships with loved ones. As Jake's charater explains, the mountain is a metaphor for how they live their lives. He remains cool and in control the whole time, coming up with a possible solution to their predicament, encouraging Luke's character to keep trying and not give up hope. He accomplishes this through entertaining, albeit raunchy, stories.

We draw our own conclusions about his character, and how he manages to sustain and direct his weaker partner.

Luke, on the other hand, has a far more physical role, climbing the ice wall that serves as their oasis several times. He falls, he wants to jump, at one point he beats on the mountain.

The performance was in a small community theater, which afforded us the opportunity of a more intimate setting for such a moving performance. We could see the expression in the actors' eyes, watch as they struggled against demons far more imposing that an ice wall and a frigid death.

Susan Sontag suggested that "Real art has the capacity to make us nervous." While perhaps she had a different idea in mind when she wrote that, the quote has always stuck in my mind. K2 raises some serious questions about allegiance, love, and living in the moment. Sadly, the characters find themselves wanting in those areas, and it is only through sacrifice that they redeem themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed the play. That there was chemistry between the brothers is obvious, but it was much deeper than that. It's a story about communication, and fears of intimacy, and true love between friends. In the end it's about sacrifice amd how each one of them lays down his life, literally and metaphorically, for the other.

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