Off the Map is an evening-length suite of stories told by Jon Spelman, focussing on a solo hiking trip to a place called Still Pond in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
It is a deeply-felt hymn to the consolations of walking; frazzled by modern life, Spelman looks for a way to achieve mental focus, and finds it on the trail.
In the field, one finds reality revealed quietly and slowly in increments, not blaringly in epiphanies, and Spelman understands this. He recounts his first encounter with a natural spring. Bending over a chair (director Nick Olcott uses the simple set and furniture very effectively), he peers down at what looked like a shallow puddle. Is that a spring? he muses.
Satisfied with the visit, he simply moves on.
On the other hand,
the theatrical setting in Round House's black box theater seems to get in the way of the storyteller's connection with his audience.
Spelman's prose can be a little plodding at times, and one senses that it would be better enjoyed either on the page, or in the open air, where Spelman can really see his listeners.