Arts » Theater

Married With Issues

B&C's 50 Words: More baggage than a Samsonite warehouse

by

comment

Words are funny things. For instance, if you Google "marital arts," you come up with lots of techniques for combat — the search engine assuming that you misspelled martial arts. Of course, the two terms are in truth even closer than that. 

This is the core of 50 Words by Michael Weller, now concluding a run at the Bang and Clatter Theatre in Cleveland (it originally ran at their Akron location in February). And the good news is that the two actors who play the young married couple, Adam and Jan, have found a rhythm that works beautifully. 

Jazz musicians say they're "in the pocket" when they are reacting intuitively to each other, allowing their riffs to blend or stand out in sharp clarity while developing a fully integrated experience. Sean Derry and Alanna Romansky are at that point, as they ride the peaks and valleys of their characters' relationship in a thoroughly engrossing 75 minutes. 

Adam owns a small architectural firm and Jan is a trained dancer turned Internet data geek. They have a young son, Greg, who is off on his first overnight play date. This leaves Mom and Dad alone to do what they do. And that amounts to some flirting, mixed in with lots of poison-tipped barbs about each other's various failings, particularly his lack of toughness and her bitchiness. 

Indeed, all married relationships are a mixture of love and aggravation. Playwright Weller knows this, and his play is a compressed duel. 

Under Sean McConaha's direction, Derry has grown in the role, becoming playful and even lovable early on, successfully finding chinks in Jan's psychic armor.  And whether Jan smiles or snarls in return, Romansky keeps Jan a baffling mix of blossoming independence and abiding neediness. This all comes to a head when a secret is revealed, and all bets are off. 

50 Words is a picture of two fractured married people working out their own solutions. As Adam notes, if the Eskimos have 50 words for snow, there should be at least as many for love.  

arts@clevescene.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.