nytheatre.com review by Liz Kimberlin
Four Quarters, a one-act play
by Christopher Heath now appearing at The Red Room, seems to be less
concerned with the destination and more with the journey of four
quarters struggling to come together to equal one. Ultimately, life
being life, they cannot succeed, but they sure as hell try. And through
the trying, the four quarters at least learn to become two solid halves.
The play is crisply directed by Gigi Wynn Perkins and performed by an
attractive, smart and very brave cast consisting of Jennifer Boutell,
Matthew George, Christin Nacke and Justin Nadal. There is one set piece:
a constantly disheveled bed that gets a lot of use over the course of an
August 15, 2002
The “quarters” are Jo (Nacke) and Joe (Nadal) and Teri (Boutell) and Terry (George), who look for love for all the wrong reasons but find it anyway. Jo/Joe is insecure, hedonistic, filled with self-loathing, and only interested in “getting laid.” Secure, fun-loving Teri/Terry is in denial about her/his terminal cancer but desperate to make the most of every moment s/he has left. Jo/Joe and Teri/Terry meet, eat Thai food, go skydiving, fall in love, and use the bed a lot as the various combinations of quarters interact. Then Teri/Terry admits s/he’s going to be dying very soon, leaving Jo/Joe devastated.
Fortunately, the play avoids most of the bipolar, yin-yang typecliches and lets the quarters be individual characters with individual relationships to each other. Although Mr. Heath still has a draft or two to go before Four Quarters really becomes a finished product, I nonetheless found it a very entertaining and compelling play. Only towards the end did my attention begin to wander. There are a few too many short blackouts with repetitive, borderline soap opera-ish “I love you, take me back” scenes that work against the play’s rhythm—as does Jo/Joe’s very PC, very sincere closing duologue about personal empowerment. However, these are minor quibbles. For me it was a mostly delightful, sometimes poignant hour that flew by.