Love; either you cringe or you perk up. Marriage; either you get it or you donâ€™t. Divorce; the inevitable if the first two arenâ€™t completely grasped, in no particular order. This is Cristina Colmenaâ€™sÂ play Happily Ever After, and although there wasnâ€™t actually a divorce, the realization is simply that you can be with a person day after day, month after month, year after year, and be divorced mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Set in a dark theater amongst four rows of chairs, sat a table, two beers, two lamps, and two chairs. The first scene, called â€œMisunderstandingsâ€ focused around two people and a clock. Obviously some type of chemistry between the lovers is shared, but through a simple misunderstanding of time and place due to a lack of communication, both ultimately lose out on the opportunity to further explore the infinite possibilities. I pity the fool.
Next, a bed, two nightstands, two cigarettes, a clock, a one night stand; absolutely scandalous. Waking up afterward with the awkwardness of not exactly knowing the person next to you; and though they sense there may be something there, the shame of what has occurred outweighs any possibility of sensibility to move in the right direction. He wanted her; she thought she would get hurt. She pushed him away, and so he left.
The final scene called â€œMelodramaâ€ brought attention to a married couple, who after 30 years had lost their spark due to a lack of expression, in theÂ form of speech. To their family, they appeared happy, to their friends, perhaps the same; yet, to each other, the words just werenâ€™t there. The separation happened early in their marriage, but the schism continued to deepen. Only quiet sighs and an unrelenting frustration remained. So 30 years later pretending became the best thing to do.
Karin Rosnizeck and Doug Krehbel who play the communication challenged couple in all three acts make sure that Colmenaâ€™s points are well delivered as each time the scorned lover fails to find the words to express his or her feelings.Â There were times when the audience snickered, or outright laughed at their antics. Nonetheless, underneath the banter and expletives, a seriousness harbored, almost sadness. As we have all had our heart broken, or maybe reflected on a fleeting expression, or a misunderstanding that ended badly. And in that moment, it is here you find yourself instead of laughing, connecting with the actors who are lost in their thoughts, but donâ€™t have the words to say what is truly in their hearts.
Each situationâ€™s outcome could have been different; however, a lack of patience, articulation, and vulnerability kept each from endingÂ Happily Ever After. The gist, say what you mean, and mean what you say so that you too can experience that ridiculous song from childhood, â€œFirst comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.â€ I digress.
Happily Ever After
Written by Cristina Colmena
MeadÂ Theatre Lab at Flashpoint
916 G Street, NW
Through March 30, 2014