Photo courtesy of KPM Associates.
The Storm Inside Rages More Violently Than the Hurricane Outside
By Lauren Yarger
A storm breaking, both literally and emotionally drives Scott Hudson’s new play Sweet Storm, co-presented Off-Broadway by Alchemy Theatre and LAByrinth Theater Company at the Kirk Theater.
Ruthie (Jamie Dunn) and Bo (Eric T. Miller) are up a tree, again quite iterally, as Bo carries his new bride to a surprise honeymoon suite: a tree house built in the limbs where they once climbed and where love blossomed when she slipped and grabbed hold of him to keep from falling. To put the finishing touches on the special wedding night surprise, amongst the bed, a few pieces of furniture and a few necessities, Bo places heaps of gardenias, Ruthie’s favorite flower, which she thinks have “the aroma of angels.”
The idyllic setting (depicted simply by scenic and costume designer Lea Umberger as two large limbs accented by green strips of foliage nicely lighted by Sarah Sidman) doesn’t trigger quite the reaction Bo hopes for from his new wife. Instead, a storm of emotion is unleashed, much like the Sept. 10, 1960 hurricane which is fast approaching their location at Lithia Springs, Fl. The sounds of nature, with varying degrees of rain and wind are amazingly created by sound designer Elizabeth Rhodes You could almost swear you were sitting outdoors up a tree.
The tree sits on land recently donated for a new church Bo is excited about pastoring, but Ruthie isn’t so sure. In fact, she’s wonders whether getting married was such a great idea, especially in light of a recent accident which has left her paralyzed from the waist down. She is still angry, searching for answers and not in the mood for surprises. As Bo must carry her every where and help her use a bed pan, Ruthie’s emotions whirl out of control and its hard to tell if a storm bigger than the approaching hurricane isn’t raging within .
“You married a woman with no faith and no legs,” she tells him.
Bo doesn’t have any easy answers, but they start talking and recall moments from their courtship. He reassures her of his love and eventually, Ruthie’s fears subside, just as the hurricane rages around them
Directed by Padraic Lillis, the play is a sweet story of how love and prayer can triumph over fear and circumstances.
Sweet Storm runs at the Kirk Theater, 410 W. 42nd St., NYC through July 26. For tickets and information, visit http://www.labtheater.org/onstage/onstage.html.