Before the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic Jordi Wallen, an amazing writer and lover of music and theater, wrote a review of the play ‘Fool for Love’ performed at EgoPo Theater
The most important part of relationships is invisible. It’s that thrum perseverating beneath the surface. It can be the underlying whirring of excitement, like the sound of butterflies flitting around in your chest, or it can be a siren call luring you down into a dark abyss. Fool For Love by Sam Shepard plunges you into the latter.
It’s this tumultuousness that transports us to a country roadside motel where two star-crossed lovers harbor a deep, dark secret. If love is a battlefield, May and Eddie are in the thick of warfare where survival looks grim and anything in its wake will be destroyed. Lane Savadove, Artist Director of EgoPo theatre described Shepard’s work as “uncovering the skeletons of the nuclear American Family;” paintings of repressed memories and stains of inescapable legacies left there by belligerent, masculine, and mysteriously flighty devastations. Fool For Love is in part an exploration of Shepard’s own familial traumas.
Directed by Brenna Geffers for EgoPo and featuring a quartet of familiar Philadelphia faces, the most striking and impressive moments in this play are the moments of quiet intensity and startling stillness. Jered McLenigan powerfully channels Eddie’s inner demons when he drops the character’s funny-guy shell and lets us fall into the deep well of despair he paints to bring the play to a quiet climax. Julianna Zinkel (May) is the antithesis to McLenigan’s groundedness- clearly a dancer from her extensive resume and movements, Zinkel floats through the first half of the show in balletic grace. We finally get to see her sink her feet into the earth later on when the line between love and hate becomes less and less clear. Lain against Chris Bratek’s rustic and purposeful set design, Steven Wright (Martin) and Joe Canuso (Old Man) offer nuanced portrayals of a metaphorical angel and a devil in the lovers’ lives, further complicating Eddie and May’s already conflagrating relationship.