The Unexpected Man

As in Yasmina Reza's mid-'90s hit Art, her immediate follow-up play also features characters in a strained — and perhaps losing — battle to align themselves in perfect counterbalance with art. However, here, rather than three egos colliding in a comedically vitriolic clash of egos, Reza's characters, in pensive retrospection of a lifetime spent deriding sentimentality, move through an elegantly painful self-analysis that reveals them each to be longing for some sentimental feelings. These two middle-aged people, a man and a woman (the excellent Ronald Hunter and Judy Jean Berns), ride a train from Paris to Frankfurt sitting across the aisle from each other; the man a famous writer in the twilight of his career, the woman an avid consumer of his books. They first acknowledge each other in their respective imaginations before eventually speaking to each other directly. Even when in conversation, it is beautifully unclear (deftly shaped by director David Robinson), whether their exchange is actually occurring just in their minds. Chrystal Lee's set emphasizes the distinctive isolation of each world, and the uncredited montage of images that roll by slowly on two upstage screens offers subtle but powerful punctuation to the play's themes. The Lounge Theater 2, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlwyd; Fri.-Sat., 8 pm; Sun., 3 pm; through March 28. (323) 960-7785. Bright Eyes Productions
Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 21. Continues through March 28, 2010


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