The Egg Play
nytheatre.com review by Amy E. Witting
August 11, 2012
Three chairs that are similar in look but slightly different sit simply on the stage. The actors come on like firecrackers speaking separately together. A story of one event but told from the perspective of each individual unfolds in this seventy minute drama of love, loss, and heartbreak playing at The Cherry Lane Studio until August 16th. The Egg Play by San Francisco based playwright Candice Benge draws the audience in from the intrigue and mystery of the events and left me wanting more. Although at times the play feels a bit repetitive in places, the sense of urgency and precision executed by each actor kept me fully engaged throughout.
This play is an intimate portrait of fertility and at first feels like the audience is backstage listening to actors commenting on a play that they are rehearsing together but than there is a shift, a moment when the reality sinks in. This situation is very real, these characters are living in their own version of purgatory… or are they? We are reminded of the truth of the situation by a doorbell that rings every time the characters stray from the events that happened in the past. They re-enact, struggle, support, and constantly strive to make each other feel comfortable, while always remaining truthful to the situation at hand. The wonderful surprise about The Egg Play is I left not understanding fully what exactly happened to these people, but feeling for them just the same. I left trying to fit the pieces of the cracked eggs together, and I commend Benge for giving the audience room for thought and deliberation.
“We are just going through it” echo’s throughout the play and we realize we are the ones that are going through it. In order for each character to move on they have to feel what happened to them, and understand why they each need one another. At the core is a couple struggling with their inability to conceive a child. The husband, played by the touching Stephen Frothingham, is having a breakthrough in his field as an OB-GYN. On the brink of breakthrough with a new fertility treatment he is introduced to Claire, the vulnerable Amelia Van Brunt, through his wife and a dangerous connection is made.
Each actor is fully committed to the truth of these words and each other. The direction by Cara Phipps, is simple and precise, allowing us to be drawn in to each calculated movement. We fear the worst for these three characters and hope for the best. “Falling implies accident, accident implies forgiveness” is just an example of the truth in the words that Bergen has sculpted. We are left with questions, some I do wish were answered, but others that I believe are not meant to be known. The Egg Play states that each of these characters will “remember softly” just as I will remember this beautifully sad play.