Brilliant Traces | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Brilliant Traces, Morningstar Theater Company, at Center Theater. You see, there's this guy who lives in a remote snowbound cabin in Alaska, and one stormy night a girl in a wedding gown stumbles through the door--yes, it's Brilliant Traces once again, Cindy Lou Johnson's romantic parable of spiritual hibernation and awakening. The manic Rosannah and the depressive Henry are both fugitives fleeing personal tragedies--she's driven nonstop all the way from Arizona--when fate and the weather bring them together. Let the healing begin.

The challenge presented by this stark 90-minute, two-character play comes from its therapy dynamic, which must be concealed if Johnson's exquisite language is to weave its delicate spell. Director Todd Jasmin downplays the text's absurdist aspects and slows the pace, allowing Kevin Gay and Meghan McDonough to explore their characters' personalities and the logic governing their actions. This actor-based approach creates an atmosphere of intimacy that renders the most contrived transitions plausible, making for a promising debut by the Morningstar Theater Company only slightly marred by opening-week nervousness.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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