Written by acclaimed playwright Anna Ziegler, A DELICATE SHIP is a poetic tale of love – requited, unrequited, and somewhere in between. For this is a love triangle that hovers in the hearts and minds of three people trying to find the perfect relationship, so elusive and yet so compelling. Sarah (Paris Perrault) and Sam (Philip Orazio) are spending a quiet Christmas Eve in Sarah’s apartment in Brooklyn, gently getting to know each other as the snowflakes flutter past the window panes. Suddenly, a barrage of knocks on the door announces an uninvited guest who will not be denied. Should Sarah answer the door? Will her response have any impact on the future? These introspective queries notwithstanding, Sarah opens the door to find a disheveled and frenzied Nate (Josh Zuckerman), her childhood next-door neighbor and, for a time at least, her best friend.
As memories well up between the two old friends, Sam begins to find himself the odd man out – or is Nate the outsider who barged in to lay his valentine on Sarah’s heart? For intermittent moments, time seems to stand still as distant recollections are nuanced by recent events. Whose reminiscences are more valid? A lovelorn Nate, who may feel that time and opportunity passed him by? Or a confused Sarah, torn by feelings which don’t fit into neat boxes? Or an angry Sam, who sees Nate as the seed of his felt rejection? And, in the long run, does it matter anyway?
Director Andre Barron pulls strong ensemble performances from the talented trio, with an especially powerful – and maybe a bit manic – performance by Josh Zuckerman. Sarah B. Brown’s scenic design is appropriately cozy and evocative, with Jared A. Sayeg’s lighting, Michele Young’s costumes, and Cricket S. Myers’ sound enhancing the production. The entire team manages to keep the story delicately balanced among what happened in the past, what may have happened in the past, what we hope happened in the past – and, regardless of truth, the impact of the past on the present.
A DELICATE SHIP is an intriguing study of relationships past and present, an introspective exploration of the dynamics which make – or break – a bond. At the same time, it sometimes floats aimlessly through the minefield of connection. It has no real beginning or end, except for a forced denouement taking place years later. It seems to say that life usually doesn’t offer closure, which may prove frustrating for those who hope for resolution.
A DELICATE SHIP runs through March 11, 2018, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Road on Magnolia is located at 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $34 ($17.50 for students and seniors). For information and reservations, call 818-761-8838 or go online.