In Greg Kalleres’s deceptively simple drama, Victoria (Julia Coffey) and John (Chris Thorn) are a successful couple in Indianapolis, living a carefully constructed narrative of how they came to be. Sometimes that narrative papers over a flaw—a memento of an Africa trip that is/was less than perfect—and sometimes it depends on a shared mirthless joke about shopping at Pottery Barn. The delicate balance of their lives is at risk of toppling when, driving home from the theater on a rainy night, Victoria hits something in the road and drives on without stopping.
What did they smash with their car? A deer? A suicidal stray dog? A person? Sometimes what you think you see is wrong, and some reflection brings clarity.
The arrival of their friend Lynn (Megan Bartle), pursued by the man who she is trying to break up with, Alex (Tom Coiner), has a paradoxically stabilizing effect. Lynn seems to enter relationships for the dubious pleasure of ending them, as illustrated by the story of her first date with Alex, in which she asks him to role-play becoming a ex.
John and Victoria return in their minds to the traffic accident, and stitch together their common version. As he says, “it doesn’t matter what story you choose to believe, as long as you both believe in the same story.”
There’s a fine side story about recommending a book to someone (Gravity’s Rainbow in this case) that you yourself haven’t read. It resonates with an anecdote told by classmate Johnnie in an acting workshop many years ago.
- Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W. Va.
- Wrecked, by Greg Kalleres, directed by Shelley Butler