By Dennis Spair
The audience sits in the dark theatre. A cameo light is slowly brought up. A lone figure kneels on a tattered mat. Disheveled. Unshaven. A black blindfold tied tightly around his head. His shackled hands quiver as he starts to speak.
This is Michael, imprisoned in a desolate cell in Beirut, kidnapped by terrorists amid the 1980s hostage crisis. He recites aloud the letter he’d write if his hands were only free, speaking lovingly to his wife Lainie, back in America.
The light fades down. Then suddenly up again. This time it’s Lainie, alone in her own home prison. She kneels on a similar mat, imagining Michael’s predicament. She speaks to him as she imagines he’s speaking to her.
Fading lights transport us back and forth between their two rooms. It’s a highly effective technique. Two people share their thoughts even though they’re worlds apart. We share their isolation and pain.
Production design and music are minimal. It’s the performers who are impressive. Christopher DeVinny (Michael) and Belinda Gosbee (Lainie) emote powerful feelings of love, rage, despair, and longing. Two additional characters, Catherine Siggins (Ellen), a government employee trying to secure Michael’s release, and Mario Vernazza (Tucker), a reporter exposing the government’s inabilities to do so, are equally riveting. Director Amir Korangy skillfully brings out the tense story in his talented cast.
Two Rooms runs Saturday, June 15, at 5:45 p.m., Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, at 8:30 p.m. at Theater 6470 at The Complex located at 6470 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 465-0383.