Two plays by John Kolvenbach, “On an Average Day” and “Love Song” get repertory treatment at Kansas City’s The Living Room Theatre while presenting two very different looks at mental issues plaguing the characters.
Both plays run through June 28 and rotate performance nights. A special talk back with the New York based playwright is sceduled for Sunday night at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by Rusty Sneary who appears in both repertory pieces. Sneary said that Kolvenback will be in town to view both plays this weekend, before the talk back. Both pieces have played the New York City stages and have received acclaim and awards, he said.
“On an Average Day” presents two brothers, Bob and Jack, played by Matthew Weiss and Rusty Sneary, who have past issues with their father to resolve before moving forward. The characterizations are wonderfully written by Kolvenbach and both beautifully and masterfully acted by Weiss and Sneary. The first act particularly finds Bobby in a frenzy and struggling to keep what control he does have in reign. Enter Jack, and the levels of madness accelerate to a fever pitch.
Bobby saves papers and beer cans. The beer cans have no purpose but the papers are all the papers that contain information about unsolved murders or accidents. The more he dwells in them, the more he collects them and expands his collection. Bobby awaits a trial for some unthinkable act and could face the death penalty. And, his unkempt kitchen disaster zone has now spread to the insides of the refrigerator where some unmentionable odor can sicken the strongest of stomachs.
Jack, on the other hand, arrives to visit his brother, but not until Act II does the story of his reason unfold. The relationship between the men just gets stranger and stranger. Bobby grows more and more agitated while Jack grows from normal to bizarre. Sneary and Weiss present characters not seen before and their understanding of the humorous lines in the play bring the laughs, even though the play is an ultra dark piece. Both performances excel and stand worthy of a bigger crowd in a bigger venue.
The story spins around Bobby’s mental issues and his relationship with Jack. Both have unresolved feelings toward their father. The relationship with the mother is not examined but alluded to on several occasions. Bobby awaits the outcome of a trial while Jack claims he knows nothing about the incident or trial. The playwright leaves a lot to be resolved in this two-person play that contains some very funny exchanges as it moves darker and darker in content.
The story line could stand some changes. Kolvenbach throws a lot of red herrings at the audience that lead no where. While trying to figure where they lead, the action can take second thought. Still, mature audiences will enjoy the play and specifically the two performers. They, alone, are worth the admission and time investment.
The crew is led by Scott Cordes, director; Erin Hartnett, stage manager; April Brewer, assistant stage manager; Nicole Jaja, lighting designer; Kylor Greene, lighting assistant; John Kimball, resident lighting consultant/electrician; David Kiehl, sound design; Regina Weller, Properties designer/scenic artist; Matt Weiss, scenic design/scenic artist; Shawna Journagan, scenic artist; Jon Cupit and Marlin Deen, original scenic design; Ron Megee, original properties design/scenic artist; Jon Fulton Adams, original costume designer; Bradley J. Thomas, house/box office manager.
“On an Average Day” runs alternate days with “Love Song” at The Living Room in Kansas City, Missouri. For information, times, specific performance dates, tickets, etc, check out their website.