BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Light Years began as a short play presented at Ensemble Studio's One-Act Marathons (see link below), and I can see where it took more time to present the freshman to graduate odyssey of Courtney', Daphne, Doug and Michael. On the other hand, there are times when this longer version, has a stretched-out rubber band feeling. Fortunately, Jamie Richards, who directed the the lighter Light Years is directing this full featured version and the four young actors -- Paul Bartholomew, Ian Reed Kssler, Anne-Marie Nest and Sarah Rose -- from the EST production are back on board and they couldn't be better. Consequently, the rubber band spots may be regarded as minor to middling drawbacks to a generally enjoyable ninety minutes.
Essentially Light Years is a coming of age story, the title less about the lightness and fun of the college years than the light of self and general knowledge that penetrates, the light sometimes dawning with unbearable harshness. Aronson divides things evenly between his characters. Graduation day shows two of his characters to have the future firmly in hand, and two who will need at least another four years to grapple with who they are and what they're going to be when they grow up.
With a few deft strokes the playwright fills in a lot of information about the two coeds who, though they've known each other just two hours, seem destined to be good friends. American-as-apple-pie pretty blonde Courtney (the wonderfully winning Anne Marie Nest) is clearly the more self-assured as as evident from advice to wide-eyed Daphne (an aptly eager-to-please, intense Sarah Rose) on campus life. Since her advice emphasizes the fine points of "appearing to be or not be taken. " it seems that dating game talk is as timeless as the once again fashionable 50s pedal pushers both girls wearing.
As Courtney's constant efforts to make everyone feel good are a crutch to boost her own insecurities, so Doug's literally instant success in putting Courtney in the "taken " category is a hint that while his shyness may erupt into the occasional stammer, he's no loser. That instant sexual coup is as sexy as things are going to get. The big bang of this opening scene comes when Daphne receives a bombshell of news over the phone. Light Years, you see, is not about sex, but about learning the difference between sex and friendship, less about finding a lover than and finding oneself .
While none of this adds up to anything earth shatteringly new and, in fact, often smacks of a pilot for a sitcom, Aronson does not settle for a typical right boy matched to right girl happy ending. Daphne must heal from having been stabbed by disappointment. One can only hope Michael will be a late bloomer that Doug will continue to ride the wave of success he's caught. Above all one hopes that Courtney will continue to "see beauty where no one sees it." If that spirit rubs off on the audience Light Years will have brought some light into all our lives.
Marathon 2000 Series "A" One-Acts Plays
6,500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.