Thursday, February 2, 2012

Four Square by Manuel Zarate, FronteraFest at the Blue Theatre, January 27 - February 4

Four Square Manuel Zarate HBMG Austin TX FronteraFest

Inevitably, Manuel Zarate's one-act play Four Square reminds one of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. There's a chance encounter in a public place with no one else around. The chat between two strangers starts with simple exchanges, courtesies, really, then progresses until we eventually see that one of them is a psychotic and the other is a victim. There's something of the bull ring to the concept, except that instead of the ceremonial squads to do the tormenting, there's only the psycho. And the shape is different: the playing space is defined by a chalk square scrupulously marked into quadrants. The two are chained together by circumstances -- metaphorically at first and then in an unexpected development, literally.

Albee's story is simple, a searing descending arc; Zarate's is considerably more complex. The victim in this story is a woman, Beverly -- hesitant and a mild physical handicap. Ann Catherine Pittman in that role initially seems to resemble a bird with a broken wing but as the story develops she proves capable of anger, stubbornness and effective resistance. J. Ben Wolfe is David, who says that he's waiting for a bus so he can visit his wife and daughter. It never comes and he was probably not waiting for it in the first place. Late in the action in a flash of insight unexplained to the audience, Beverly realizes that David probably has no family because he has driven them away or perhaps even killed them.

Read more at . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment