Why are men so lost?
We’re all lost.
The title of this show instantly captured my attention. At first, it sounds like a text book study course someone would take in college. Instead, what it is about is how one couple knows each other through the Internet and another couple discussing if their marriage is worth saving. The multitude of on line dating services, going through what feels like thousands of profiles, weeding out the possibilities from the trash and finally having the courage to meet face to face. The thing with online dating is that you don’t know if you will meet the ONE or the ONE right now or the ONE that will never happen.
Two couples meet in a non-descript coffeehouse. Tyler and Louise (Kim Estes and Gloria Charles) have “the talk” about their marriage. They been attending couples therapy but it had a different response for each of them. Tyler wants to return to their regular routine in being a happy couple. But, Louise has seen the light and is a doctoral candidate who is ready for next adventure. Tyler wants to continue to talk about their healthy anger. Louise sees it more as abuse.
The next table are blogger Jade (Abigail Marlowe) and her online date John (William Nicol). They meet for the first time. Jade’s very talkative; usually about nothing and he tries to keep up. He bolts and returns when he notices his wallet is missing. Jade is also a very good pickpocket. She also took away his wallet and keys without him noticing.
She’s looking for a human connection and John is looking to get laid as quickly as possible. Within 30 seconds she seizes him up and he is defensive. Throughout the date, John keeps getting Jade’s name wrong. Not the best way continue the date. Later, they “meet” again by texting each on another night. He likes to use a lot of smiley faces to express himself. On another night, John comes in for coffee and sees Jade. He reveals that he has a new girlfriend.
In the middle of this romantic crowd are Dirk (Brian Cousins) and Louise’s therapist Roxanne (Sara Underwood Saviano). Dirk is John’s boss for a video game company. John is concerned that their games are extremely violent. Dirk doesn’t see a problem, “that’s the point” he explains. Roxanne is going through her own personal crisis when she stops in the coffeehouse and catches up with Louise. For the first time, Louise’s eyes are opened about her therapist. She doesn’t have it all together like Louise thought. She starts to rethink about her relationship with Tyler.
Playwright Solange Castro has done an excellent job in unveiling the fragile vulnerability within these characters. All are humanly flawed and are in desperate need for some kindness and love, even if they don’t admit it. Dirk’s strong appetite for dangerous video games and Roxanne’s life falls apart after a patient indiscretion rocks her vanilla latte life. Castro makes the remaining couples look normal. Passions explode when John and Dirk have an argument and take it out in the streets to fight. Everyone watches as Dirk kicks John ass. “I’ve never seen two white people in such an excited state,” Tyler says from a distance.
Marlowe is great as the dejected Jade. She’s been so bruised by relationships that the only connection she does make is with her laptop. When he meets John, she’s all ready to pounce before he even sits down. Estes as the broken hearted Tyler proves that he doesn’t want his marriage of over 40 years to end. He knows there’s gotta be a way but hasn’t figured it out yet. It’s clear that he’s deeply worried and will grab at any solution to hold on.
Castro makes her characters relatable and empathetic. You don’t get mad at Tyler trying to salvage his marriage. Even Jade doesn’t emit a dismissal of the hand. She fell in love. She got hurt. It sucks. It happens. It happens to all of us and yet, we need a way to survive and say, “next time it will be better.
Changes in the Mating Strategies of White People play until this weekend. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 23rd at 3 p.m. at the Lounge 2 Theater, located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. For ticket information call (323) 960-7787 reserve online at www.plays411.com/changes