Brilliant Traces, Cindy Lou Johnson’s two-character play about a runaway bride and a recluse in a remote Alaskan cabin, is a project that actress Nickella Moschetti has wanted to do for a long time. She finally found a partner in co-star Danny Lippin, and with director Michael Shaw, they’ve brought an extremely well-crafted production to the cramped quarters of the Sidewalk Studio Theatre.
From the moment Rosannah (Moschetti) bursts into Henry’s (Lippin) hermetically-sealed existence in the middle of a blizzard, it’s clear that this is going to be an unusual story. The two lost souls spar for 90 minutes, Johson taking her time unspooling their respective neuroses before finally revealing what’s at the wounded heart of each character, and along the way she shines a light on some of the small lunacies that afflict us all from time to time. Moschetti is outstanding, frenzied and hurting but not missing any details in her brittle performance, and Lippin brings just enough bug-eyed, stir-crazy oddness to his part to make the viewer wonder which of these two characters is actually the more neurotic of the two.
Two-person plays, particularly ones as demanding as this, take unusually deft skill to pull off but Moschetti, Lippin and Shaw all rise to meet the challenge. Shaw maintains balance and tension between his two actors to keep his audience intrigued until a very satisfying conclusion. This is a limited run in a very small space, so make it a priority to see this superb little production.
“Brilliant Traces” performs Friday nights through November 20th at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre
(4150 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake 91505). Tickets are $20. For more information, visit www.sidewalkstudiotheatre.com, call (818) 558-5702 or go to www.brownpaperetickets.com/event/84309.