Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Primal Forces, an edgy production company, has proven their mettle with Lydia Stryk's An Accident. The 75-minute two-hander flies by due to the talents of its two leads as well as the excellent direction of Keith Garsson.
One enters the very intimate stage at Empire Stage to see a puzzling set which, I was sure, was supposed to represent a womb. I was wrong, but in truth, I still have no idea what the set represents. Maybe the brain of its leading lady. May I explain?
Libby (Elizabeth Price in an astounding performance) is first seen standing in her hospital room as her own alter ego, gazing down at herself and bucking up the "other" Libby, who has been hit by a car while jogging and appears to be quadriplegic. Visiting Libby daily is Anton (Nicholas Wilder), the driver of the car. Anton is a tough role and between actor and director, Wilder gives a terrific performance as the conflicted, emotionally dead catalyst for the drama to come. What we experience is the beautifully written coming together of a pair of lost souls, liking, hating, and ultimately coming to a truce with each other. Emotions reach a feverish peak and Anton's screams at Libby are unbearable to listen to since we care about her. The most beautiful scene in the play is one in which the ultimate tenderness is show toward Libby by Anton, and I found myself actually holding my breath until the scene ended. To divulge more would be doing a disservice to all involved.
The handsome Wilder mines the levels of Anton's humanity as well as his viciousness and one cannot help but feel sympathetic as well as empathetic toward the character. But the play belongs to Ms. Price, an actress of chameleon-like qualities. I was concerned we were in for a Who's Life Is It Anyway? evening, but what she does not do is as thrilling as what she does do. Here is the shell of the woman she used to be, immobile from the neck down. As changes begin, we see her efforts to try to move even an iota to regain her lost independence. Ms. Price provides a master class in acting.
Credit goes to Nate Sykes, whose lighting is an integral part of the play, as well as David Hart's sound. And major kudos to Mr. Garsson who directs this delicate piece with the dignity and emotions it so deserves.
The play, as mentioned, is "only" 75 minutes. Theatre is theatre. Personally, I would rather take an emotional roller coaster for a shorter time than sit through something that takes hours but is not in the least satisfying. An Accident provides this and more. It will touch every emotion you have.
An Accident, through May 27th, 2018, at Empire Stag, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Ft. Lauderdale FL. Please call 866-811-4111 for tickets and information, or visit their website at primalforces.com.