Pin It
Favorite

By the Sea Productions' 'Love Alone' explores justice, forgiveness amid tragedy 

Sometimes there are just no good answers. Director Kelli Poward explores this in By The Sea Productions' (formerly known as the Pewter Plough Players in Cambria) staging of Love Alone, currently showing in Morro Bay at St. Peter's By The Sea Episcopal Church.

This contemporary 2012 play is written by Deborah Salem Smith (Faithful Cheaters, Anna K.), the playwright in residence at Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island, and unravels in the wake of a minor surgery gone very wrong.

click to enlarge MALPRACTICE After a minor surgery goes wrong, anesthesiologist Dr. Becca Neal (Maya Lara) and her husband, J.P. (Robert D. Foster), wonder how this will affect her career. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BY THE SEA PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of By The Sea Productions
  • MALPRACTICE After a minor surgery goes wrong, anesthesiologist Dr. Becca Neal (Maya Lara) and her husband, J.P. (Robert D. Foster), wonder how this will affect her career.

When Helen's (Rayna Ortiz, previously seen in PPP shows like Stripped) lesbian partner of 20 years dies unexpectedly in minor surgery, Helen and her daughter, Clementine (Karla Bernardo, genetic scientist by day/singer-songwriter by night), want answers. Confused by the hospital's silence around the death, they bring a lawsuit against the doctors involved. Now Dr. Becca Neal (Maya Lara, previously seen in the former SLO Little Theatre's Dinner With Friends) must confront her feelings about losing her patient while she juggles the demands of a lawsuit and her marriage with her husband J.P. (Robert D. Foster, who has performed in 23 shows across the country).

The show takes place in one humble room, which serves as the living space for multiple families and breakrooms for hospital employees across different moments in time and space in the story's arc. Due to a last-minute cast change, Ortiz stepped in at the 11th hour to take on the role of Helen. While Ortiz gives a compelling, nuanced, and emotional portrayal of a heartbroken spouse, she does (understandably) carry a script with her on stage, while the other actors do not, which can be distracting to the viewer at times.

click to enlarge TO BE LOVED Amid a tiring, complex lawsuit, daughter Clementine (Karla Bernardo, foreground) composes a song for her deceased mother, while Dr. Becca Neal (Maya Lara) and her husband, J.P. (Robert D. Foster), attempt to rekindle their marriage. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BY THE SEA PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of By The Sea Productions
  • TO BE LOVED Amid a tiring, complex lawsuit, daughter Clementine (Karla Bernardo, foreground) composes a song for her deceased mother, while Dr. Becca Neal (Maya Lara) and her husband, J.P. (Robert D. Foster), attempt to rekindle their marriage.

After learning that the senior doctor she was working under had a history of malpractice suits that he settled, Becca begins to spiral, working overtime to compensate for her part in the death of a patient, taking her marriage down with her in the process. Clementine and Helen initially bond over shared memories of the mother and spouse they lost, until Clementine's search for answers leads to Helen filing a lawsuit against both doctors and withdrawing emotionally from Clementine. At the heart of Love Alone is a Gordian knot of hard questions: How do we own up for our mistakes and move forward? How do we live with feelings like grief and guilt when nothing will truly make things right?

Performances from side characters like the lawyer (R. Crowfoot), who advises Clementine and Helen, and the blunt nurse (Jo Jackson) with the inside scoop on what's really going on at the hospital, serve as the voice of reason and the Greek chorus respectively, helping to round out the narrative for the audience.

Bernardo's singer-songwriter talents shine as rock'n' roller daughter Clementine, who clings to her music to process her mother's death, deviating from her usual style to compose a hauntingly beautiful ballad of mourning, "Love's Not All" (composed by Salem Smith and Peter Kendall specifically for Love Alone), which Bernardo plays upstage while in another time and place downstage, we see Becca and J.P. slow dancing, as they try to reconcile in their own way on their own journey.

In the end, as Salem Smith cleverly alludes to in her title, all there really is, is love, and love alone. Δ

Tags:

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Search, Find, Enjoy

Submit an event

Trending Now

© 2018 New Times San Luis Obispo
Powered by Foundation