Two Rooms in Davis
nytheatre.com review by Anthony C.E. Nelson
September 7, 2007
Writer and director Brad Saville's Two Rooms in Davis is a portrait of two relationships in chaos. Divided into four scenes, it provides moments of crackling good dialogue and tension, but needs some work on making the scenes fit together.
The action takes place in two hotel rooms in the West Virginia town of the title. We meet first Dante, a screenwriter who has achieved fame, and his much younger wife Sara. They've left New York to come to this location to give Dante time and space to write, which causes him to ignore Sara, who drinks heavily from their hotel room's well-stocked bar. They refer obliquely to their plans for the evening, which evidently involve an arrangement with another couple.
This couple, who comprise the next scene, are wall-street trader Kennedy and his wife, aspiring actress Patricia. The connection between the two groups, we gradually learn, is that they've come to this remote bed and breakfast for a partner-swap. The two final scenes feature the new pairs, where secrets are revealed and motivations become murky. I hesitate to reveal much more, because the major problem with Saville's very entertaining script is that he telegraphs major plot twists far too early, particularly the play's climax.
Saville has outdone most folks who direct their own scripts, as his production is taut and well-structured. He does a particularly nice job with the scene changes, which mostly involve minor rearranging of the hotel room but are choreographed in an arresting way. The cast is uniformly excellent. I should mention Anne Fidler's mixture of innocence and world-weariness as Sara and Penny Bittone's wry comic timing as Kennedy, but Jennifer Dees is the standout as the fiercely desperate Patricia.
In the end, Two Rooms in Davis runs a little too long to keep up suspense, and can't quite maintain its momentum on the strength of all its biting one-liners. But the potential for an excellent show is here, and Saville is certainly a writer to watch.