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A CurtainUp Review
Revisiting Wildfire opens with Theresa (Wintersteller) listening to Michael Murphey’s rendition of “Wildfire” on her iPod when Pam (Johnston) unexpectedly arrives. After Theresa’s initial shock passes, the next 45 minutes are dedicated to Theresa trying to get rid of Pam and Pam refusing to go. The argument is mostly verbal, except when Theresa attempts shutting the door on Pam, injuring her friend’s foot.
Theresa says she is still recovering from losing an apparently well-paying, prestigious job thanks to a younger rival, and that cannot tolerate company. She needs to spend time listening to “Wildfire,” a song which has given new meaning to her life. Pam insists she has come to celebrate Theresa’s birthday and Theresa has no business turning away her oldest and best friend.
Finally Pam drops her own bombshell, which really isn’t much of a bombshell to anyone who has been listening with even a modicum of care. Nevertheless, as it is the only element of the play with any potential of surprising, it's is better left unrevealed. During the remainder of the play, Pam and Theresa debate whether Pam’s news should make Theresa give up the plans she is now forced to tell Pam about.
Pam and Theresa talk endlessly about their feelings, but there is some activity. Pam appropriates one of Theresa’s dresses, which is the perfect length but a bit too large (even though Theresa is two or three inches taller than Pam and thin as a rail). Theresa alters the dress in less than a minute. The two women drink a good deal of scotch. Food arrives from a local take-out place.
By the next morning nothing is resolved Pam has decided that she’d like to relive old times by snorting coke, which seems to do the trick. At the end of the play, neither of the women has solved her problems, but their friendship has endured.
Jason Sherwood’s totally realistic New York City apartment (chic and a bit claustrophobic) tells the audience all they need to know about these women, their world and their aspirations. Floren would have done well to put more trust in her creative team and her actors.
Johnston and Wintersteller are seasoned performers who know how to keep a scene moving. They also squeeze out as much from Floren’s cliche-ridden dialogue and tired plotting as is humanly possible. At best, Revisiting Wildfire might have made a passable 30-minute one-act. There just is not enough depth here for 90 minutes.
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