Two Rooms, Mom and Dad Productions, at the O Bar & Cafe. An American teacher being held hostage in Lebanon in Lee Blessing’s 1987 play has only his own thoughts and memories for company. Back in the States, his wife has quit her job and converted his old office into a replica of his cell, where she devotes herself full-time to a melancholy vigil for him, attended by a coldly professional government official who cautions her to keep her frustration to herself for security reasons and a nurturing journalist who urges her to go public.
Perhaps because the issue of hostages in the Middle East has faded somewhat in the last decade, director Stan Lee seems impatient with the protracted discussions and depressing double-monologue structure of Two Rooms. In this Mom and Dad production, the ravaged prisoner brims with energy while his lonely spouse languishes in childlike lassitude. Furthermore, Lee allows the couple to interact with each other not just telepathically, as the script suggests, but physically, making it easy for us to forget the context for the characters’ actions. And actors reciting lines in inventive ways for no apparent reason is not enough to hold our attention for two hours.
–Mary Shen Barnidge