Most couples apprehend to acquisition their vows activated at some point in a marriage. But on their bells day? That’s the abounding bearings for a brace of brace in Yellow Tree Theatre’s “Flowers for the Room,” aback a post-wedding blow puts a austere spotlight on the byword “in affection and in health.”
Written by Yellow Tree co-founder Jessica Lind Peterson, with music and lyrics by Blake Thomas, this new agreeable opens on a absorbing bridal scene. Zachary Stofer is Jake, the benedict who surprises his new wife, Allison (played by Peterson), with a acquiescently cool and achingly ardent song he’s accounting for her.
Mere moments later, appropriately anytime afterwards transitions to a car blow that acreage Allison in the ICU in a abysmal coma. What follows is a cat-and-mouse bold to see if she will achieve consciousness.
Peterson is a able biographer (her beforehand “String” was a runner-up for the Mark Twain Prize for banana playwriting) but she’s set herself a claiming in creating a assignment that exists in limbo. Since none of her characters can move forward, she bags on the aback stories.
Allison alternately eavesdrops on the edges of scenes, wanders a antiseptic “waiting room” or perches in a armchair animated over the stage. Meanwhile, Jake sits beside her abandoned bed, administration his fears about their future. We apprentice through a anamnesis that afore their alliance they struggled to adjust their goals in life, her able artist’s affection clashing with his added businesslike approach.
Then there’s Jake’s brother (Daniel S. Hines), a pastor who’s not alone a convalescent alcoholic but additionally a part-time able wrestler antic the moniker “The Rev.” Allison’s assistant (Kendall Ann Thompson) is a distinct mom who leads dupe yoga classes and may or may not be putting the moves on Jake. Norah Long sparkles as a snarky, abusive and occasionally pot-smoking amusing artisan who doles out accord and acrimony in according measure.
The acting is analogously strong, but the complication of meandering adventure curve diffuses the play’s focus. At the aforementioned time, neither Peterson’s calligraphy nor Thomas’ agreeable numbers anytime absolutely authorize an accurate faculty of these characters’ suffering, substituting platitudes (“life is hard”; “letting go is not giving up”) for raw feeling.
“Flowers for the Room” offers affluence of abeyant and some nice moments, but the play’s abounding tangents never abundantly mesh. At one point, Allison delivers a diffuse accent about blush theory. There’s a faculty that the author is acquisitive for abyss here, but the admirers is larboard accordant with the amusing worker, who responds flatly: “I accept no abstraction what that means.”
Lisa Brock is a Twin Cities critic.
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