The director’s note describes TWO FISTED LOVE as “a dark comedy which links the corporate horrors of Silicon Valley and Wall Street with the decline of an American family.” Playwright David Sessions has integrated a number of factors into his play, each which – in itself – could provide an interesting commentary on life in 2008 America. It is hard to believe that a play set ten years ago could be timely, and yet it is. Directed by Jules Aaron, TWO FISTED LOVE is powerful and sometimes painfully humorous.
Set in Silicon Valley in 2008, this is the story of a modern family in a state of crisis. Caroline Connors (Serena Scott Thomas) suffers from multiple sclerosis and visibly deteriorates before your eyes. But medical calamities are not the only predicaments facing the family. Her ultra-conservative husband Kevin (David Sessions, in a double header) and her defiant daughter Rachel (Laura Long) are at loggerheads, each sure that his individual view of the world represents the only way to see things. Meanwhile, Caroline tries to navigate the tsunami created by their frequent clashes. Weaving in and out of their lives are Andy Wainwright (Jason Downs), an offbeat and amoral computer programmer whose conscience is on hold, Maggie and Robert Navarro (Lynne Oropeza and Rene Rivera), friends with clashing ideas of their own, and Maria (Paula Lafayette), the quiet Guatemalan maid who happens to catch Kevin’s eye. The entire scenario is an accident waiting to happen.
TWO FISTED LOVE is presented in two acts, the first occasionally turning into a political diatribe about the economic and social state of the world. The second act is far more human and accessible – although it does not appear to follow easily from what preceded it. The piece eventually works its way into an unlikely ending which may strain the credulity of some audience members.
Each of the principals does an excellent job of portraying his character, with special kudos to Serena Scott Thomas, whose portrayal of an MS sufferer is superb. Laura Long also makes a moving transition from a rebellious adolescent to a loving daughter. Director Jules Aaron has his work cut out for him as he attempts to join the many separate threads into a meaningful tapestry.
John Iacovelli’s set is both cozy and brittle, in keeping with the tale. Brian Gale’s lighting, Cricket S. Myers’ sound, and Jamie Cline’s fight choreography keep the story authentic and on target. This reviewer’s only question was where the play was headed, given the multiple tracks the author pursued. Despite these cautions, TWO FISTED LOVE will probably make the audience ponder and inspire thoughtful conversation.
A visiting production of the Odyssey Theatre, TWO FISTED LOVE runs through March 11, 2018, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets are $34. For information and reservations, call 866-811-4111 or go online.