Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review of Orange Flower Water at Luna Theatre

First published at the Broad Street Review:

Since California’s Family Law Act of 1969 created the conditions for no-fault dissolutions of marriage, divorce has become one of the most common features of adult American life. The first wedding I attended ended six months after the ceremony; the engagement lasted longer. This was in 1982, and my mother— and perhaps many others— (still) considered her friend’s divorce a shameful event. Today pop psychologists regard a “first divorce” as a rite of passage like middle age, and even encourage holding “marriage wakes” to celebrate the culmination of the legal proceedings.

Likewise, few Americans seem to feel revulsion at the consequences of divorce. Indeed, when I first read Craig Wright’s Orange Flower Water, a cautionary tale about the unhappy couples casting off current responsibilities in a quest for carefree happiness—I wondered, “Who would produce this?” I couldn’t believe that the same Wright who penned Luna’s 2008 spectacular hit Grace also wrote something that read like a watered-down version of the destructive effects of adultery in Patrick Marber’s much better play, Closer.

But what a world of difference a production can make. Or rather, what a world of emotional torture that Luna Theatre director Greg Campbell and four superb performances have wrought.

To continue reading, click here.

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