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This everyday encounter between Andrew (Peter Lewis), a 50-something American in Paris, and Ya Ya (Megan Boone), a 20-something Parisian singer, follows their questions, their qualms and their passion in a series of funny, fearful vignettes. Andrew and Ya-Ya meet at a café where Ya Ya has been assigned to meet Andrew by his friend Pascal, who can't show up. They talk about their recent divorces and how neither wants to get involved again, never, never, ever.
It's no surprise that, after dinner and a soulful solo from Ya Ya in the cabaret where she sings, they wind up in bed. They thrash out their affair, both literally and figuratively, on a park bench, in a bath tub and in a dress shop, where Andrew waxes philosophical about the nature of love while Ya Ya tries on a series of dresses, distracting Andrew from the cerebral aspect of love every time she takes one off.
The age thing is of course a major bone of conversation. Although Andrew, the more reticent and courtly partner, merely mentions in the beginning that, after his disastrous marriage to a woman ten years younger, he's looking for someone his own age, Ya Ya, smarting from her marriage to a much older philanderer, calls a spade lots of things. Her friends will think she's only "screwing this old hulk because he must be amazingly rich" and his friends will think she is a bimbo "who must fuck like a firetruck." "Who could be more hostile than your liberal friends with all their tolerant ideas except for me every pent up wish they have to be intolerant finally could be dumped on top of me", cries Ya Ya.
These ruminations alternate with back stage projections of the two romping through Paris as seen off-kilter through the lens of Andrew's hand-held camera. This highlights the juvenile nature of the affair, as well as the photogenic beauty of Ms. Boone.
The third actor who plays waiter, dress shop clerk and nightclub singer is Ethan Lin whose dazzling male sopranista deliverers the musical highlight of the play with an impeccable French accent. During his song, Andrew and Ya Ya perform a free-style dance which winds up with Ya Ya flopping like a puppet, underscoring the manipulative nature of passion. Boone, who also produced, indicates her French accent and sings in an unaffected manner, taking advantage of her limitations in both departments. She plays Ya Ya with vivacity and sly charm and, like Lewis, gives understated credibility to what is basically a relationship story. Lewis gives the man Ya Ya calls boring integrity and makes a whole character out of the quality of the attention he pays to the girl during her existential monologues.
Director Michael Connors focuses on the characters' worries at the expense of their excitement, alteration in pace and dramatic build. With Mee's plays, it's always a trade-off and aficionados of his perceptive wordplay may not care. Adam Rigg's set features a double bed colorfully backed by French dresses and indicates other playing spaces with a bathtub, park bench and café table, augmented by his impeccable lighting design.
This west coast premiere has been extended through September 9.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater