Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Long Story Short at 59E59

If you're meant to be with someone, you'll know. That's what Hope (Pearl Sun) and Charles (Bryce Ryness) were raised to believe. She was told the Chinese legend that a red string tied to your ankle leads you to the one you will marry. He was taught bashert, the Yiddish word for "meant to be." But finding that person doesn't mean everything will be easy. Long Story Short, playing at 59E59 through March 29, follows the ups and downs of their relationship over the course of 50 years (or 90 minutes; time works differently here, the program states).
Photo credit: Matthew Murphy
Married team Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda based the musical off of David Schulner's play An Infinite Ache. The songs and dialogue are fluid, the way time is in this show. Sun and Ryness seamlessly transition from speaking to singing that you may not notice. Likewise, David L. Aesenault's bedroom set slowly evolves with the addition of photographs and other items (Sara Slagle is the props master) showing the passage of time.

Cultural differences are addressed, such as what religion to raise the children, but race isn't the central issue. That's not often the case with interracial relationships onstage and it's nice to see. The story is universal, but the downside is that sometimes it's a bit too general, with not enough details about these two people. Still, Sun and Ryness are so likable that it's easy to look past any issues and go along their journey.

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