A thoughtful meditation on memory and meaning, “Borderline,” a new play by Shervin Youssefian, contains fine acting and creative work. A story of loss and finding your place, the play examines how we fit into other people’s lives.
Peter Slovak (Gavin Perry), wandering lost and confused, finds himself in the small, crowded land called Hippocampus, where he meets a strange black form (Kris Kjornes) who leads him on a mission of discovery about himself and others. Will Peter find what he seeks, or will he find himself trapped in a world beyond his control?
The story, while thought-provoking and often humorous, becomes too existential, losing its visceral, emotional impact as it dwells on the abstract.
Director Youssefian wisely uses the small space by employing constant movement to keep the piece dynamic. Dialogue also drives at a rapid pace, with fine rhythms and timing by the actors.
The two leads do outstanding work in tandem with each other. Kjornes brings a lively, sarcastic intelligence and sensitivity to the black lump. Perry makes Peter a questioning, passionate man, strong yet emotionally vulnerable.
Production work is uniformly excellent, led by the fine, mood setting lighting and minimalist set design by Joe O’Neil. The pulsing, haunting music and sound work also shape the nightmarish aspect of the piece.
An examination of conflict, desire and memory, “Borderline” considers how people impact each other’s lives, sometimes leaving an imprint, and other times, disappearing without a trace.
“Borderline” plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm through October 3 (no performance September 26) at the Whitefire Theatre (13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks). Tickets cost $20. For information or reservations, call (818) 519-6342, or visit www.borderlineplay.com.