Have you ever stupidly misplaced something that was really important to you? Just walked away from it, not realizing it was out of your hands until it was too late? Remember that panic that gripped you to the very core? How your blood turned to ice in your veins and your heart pounded so loud you could hear it in your ears? In John Patrick Bray’s One-Act, Goodnight Lovin’ Trail, this is the moment we meet a traveler who’s just realized he’s left behind the most important thing he owns – Della: his guitar. Without Della this stranger feels like ”a wave of the ocean hung out to dry.”
It’s the middle of the night and Lee (Olivia Rorick) is the lone waitress working the diner when the stranger (Nic Mevoli) rushes in, desperate to find the guitar he somehow lost track of during the night. He’s retracing his steps in the hopes that someone will recognize his rare guitar. Lee hasn’t seen it, she tells him, but she has an idea where someone who came across it may want to unload it, and she give him the address of a pawn shop which is, of course, closed at this time of night. It becomes obvious soon enough that Lee knows exactly where Della is. But she’s not telling.
With nothing much else to do the two settle down and share stories of their lives – the kinds of stories that tip out so easily when two people are alone together in a diner in the middle of the night. Late at night, we’ll tell strangers secrets. The more the two talk the more the stranger is sure his guitar will turn up; “Anything that is lost usually wants to be found. She‟ll find her way back to me.”
What unfolds between these two people is a perfect moment suspended in time, an act that can only exist when anonymity fuels a relationship and all guards come down. Lee and the stranger may never cross paths again, but their stories get written on top of one another’s for one night, and maybe that’s more important.
Goodnight Lovin’ Trail is about as perfect a one act play as I’ve ever come across; effectively comprised of all the parts that make a play work: characters who are brimming with contradiction, both hopeful and hopeless and a story line that drops in on the surface of these lives like a perfect teardrop. The arc is heartbreaking and real and, under the direction of Akia who uses a restrained hand, the actors play their parts straight-on neither tipping too far into needless brio or hopeless subjugation but just walking the line of solid truth. This play will leave you with tears glistening in your eyes – no small feat for a show that clocks in at just over half an hour.
A perfect gem found along a dusty trail; Goodnight Lovin’ Trail will leave you remembering the things you’ve lost along that road that stretches out behind you.
~~~Goodnight Lovin’ Trail
Written by John Patrick Bray & Directed by Akia Squitieri
Presented by Rising Sun Performance Company New York, NY
The Red Room (85 East 4th Street) $12
Wed 2/23 @ 11pm, Sat 2/26 @ 6:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 6:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 8pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 3:30pm
FRIGID New York Festival 2011 will run February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.