Written by Patrick Chavis
There’s science fiction –stories set in the future depicting what humans might do or where they might someday go. Then we also have historical narratives, which explore what happened in humanity’s past. In Maple and Vine we sort of have a combination of both genres. The characters are frustrated with modern living and explore the possibilities of living a simpler 1950s-like lifestyle in a private community.
Maple and Vine is the story of Katha, played by Darri Kristin, and Ryu, played by Lee Samuel Tanng. Katha works an office job she hates, and her marriage is suffering as well. Her husband Ryu a plastic surgeon is also unhappy and finds his work unsatisfying. Their life changes forever when Katha meets Dean, played by Jason Cook, who interest them in joining a private community that lives their lives in the style of the 1950s.
If the characters are looking for a simpler life, why does living like it’s the 1950s have to be the solution? Couldn’t Ryu and Katha move to smaller town, become farmers, etc.? There are so many possibilities other than just joining this 1950s reenactment community. The play shrugs off these alternatives and instead transitions from a big city atmosphere to suburban 1950s world.
STAGEStheatre uses a projector in the background for the scene changes. They also utilize props in front of the screen to add more depth to the production.
Sarah Ripper’s direction of this production is even and very efficient. The actors cover a lot of ground with a minimal amount of movement. The use of music used in certain scenes added to the conversation happening.
The use of colorful purple lighting during the dream sequences was very effective in bringing out the surreal quality the story aims for.
Dean, played by Jason Cook, acts as the main narrator, and he’s also the main administrator of the community. Cook’s narration and confidence in this role are evident in the delivery and the fine suits he wears throughout the production. Ellen, played by Laura Lejuwaan, delivers an equally entertaining performance as Dean’s wife and community helper.
Maple and Vine is a conversation starter show. It may not go much further than that, and that’s all right.
March 1 – 31, 2019