Motion and Location
nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
July 27, 2006
Motion and Location is a new play by Lorna Littleway that misses the mark by a mile. Clarissa is a 17-year old high schooler who cares more about catching fast balls behind home plate than her upcoming prom. Her strict mother, Mrs. Mills, wants Clarissa to keep her nose to the scholastic grindstone and forget about playing baseball. When Clarissa's wayward Aunt Bo, a former ballplayer herself (and a lesbian), comes to stay indefinitely, Mrs. Mills fears her sister may be a bad influence on her impressionable daughter.
Unfortunately, Motion and Location is predictable from the get-go. When the lesbian aunt shows up, there's never any doubt what discoveries will be made about the athletic daughter who shows little interest in boys. Nor is it any surprise that the authoritarian mother will have to make some concessions in a house where she is ideologically outnumbered.
Littleway's writing is strained at best. Since there are almost no hallmarks of conventional dramatic writing for the audience to hang their hat on (like conflict or plot), there is very little here that is believable. The author's penchant for long, rambling speeches intensifies the play's air of implausibility. Otherwise, her characters often speak in platitudes like, "You don't have to like me to give me what's mine," and "A black woman with a child don't have no fun." Director Sue Lawless's casual direction doesn't help build any momentum or urgency. And, the cast—Suzanne Froix, Angela S. Arnold, and Geany Masai—looks a bit under-rehearsed. They try their best, but under these conditions, there's very little they can do to help Motion and Location.