NY Theater Review Susan Hasho
At the beginning of the play I See You by Kate Robin, two parents, a man and a woman married to other people, start up a conversation while watching their children. Actually, Nina starts up a conversation and compulsively keeps it going while Jesse keeps attached to his cell phone. She needs to talk about all the dangers in the modern world, poisoned food supply, everyone on gadgets not talking to each other, lack of communication in general. At some point, he suggests that meditation might help her and she could come to his meditation center. They move on together with their children and somehow Jesse ends up in the hospital with his daughter having had a severe food reaction to shrimp during lunch. Nina comes to the emergency room to help him and, distraught, he asks her to pray with him. Sometime later she meets him at his meditation center, a hurricane moves in and Jesse and Nina get closer. He later meets her at a light show display, and he tries to move the relationship even closer after he announces he’s leaving his wife.
Step by well-discussed step these two people learn about each other during ongoing conversations. As it becomes a more intimate conversation, it becomes clear how each of them deal with this newfound relationship. One choice is to let this new closeness add to an already existing life and the other is to throw the existing life away and start over. We get close enough to start to puzzle out motivation. Why would one person kiss and change a whole life and the other take it in stride. What is to be gotten, or gained from another, what makes one assume it’s being offered?
A two-person play over ninety-minutes long better make you care. And even though, at first, Nina seems annoyingly compulsive and Jesse a bit disaffected and detached, the joy of this play is watching the detailed journey these two take in spite of themselves. Both actors are excellent and beautifully attuned to the detail this play demands. Stephen Barker Turner as Jesse opens up with subtle stealth, incrementally, and Danielle Slavick as Nina becomes softer and more beautiful by degrees. We are drawn in because of the charm of these two actors.
Jim Simpson the director has done much to clarify this wordy conversational puzzle, and the rotating set keeps our visual interest as do the two stagehands (John Paul Harkins, Alexander Kushi-Willis) that appear and disappear with the grace of ninjas.
*Photos: Hunter Canning
Running through December 14th.
The Flea Theater at 41 White Street (between Broadway & Church Streets) NYC.
Box Office: 212-352-3101 or OvationTix Customer Service toll-free: 866-811-4111.