Time marches on, even when you’re not there, that’s what the main character begins to learn in The Relationship Play by Nadine Svea Nonn. Julie (Nonn) has returned back to her London home for a visit from New York City, where she’s studying fashion design. She’s there to see her friends and catch up. Very quickly, she realizes how hard long distance friendships and romance really is.
It’s an ensemble piece, with good actors, in particular Michael Harrison, as Thomas, a young doctor preparing to head off to Africa, while his girlfriend Anna, Paige Simon, is angry she is being left behind.
There is a complex history to the relationships, but I did find it hard to believe that they were all still friends. Every few minutes they were all arguing or fighting or hurting each other. We never got to see what made this group a CLOSE group of friends. Maybe what we’re seeing is all of these characters breaking up, but I’m not sure that’s the intention of the play.
Several production questions do creep up. First and foremost, for a play set in London, with characters who are from London, why are there only two actors with British accents? It was a good deal of time before I understood we weren’t in LA, but London.
Ultimately, the play places a high value on conflict than characterization (there wasn’t a scene that didn’t end with someone marching out of the apartment) Looking past the sturm and drang, it’s a play with immature characters struggling towards a mature understanding of the changing nature of friendship.
June 22 @ 1:45 PM, June 23 @3:45, tickets $10, Complex Theatres, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
About the Author: Larry Pontius is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen around the world. His produced stage work includes an Off-Broadway production of Umbrella by Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan; Fallout by Working Man’s Clothes Productions and The Lunar Adventures of Dar and Matey by Stolen Chair Theater, followed up with Dar and Matey’s Christmas SpectaculARGH at the The Brick Theatre in Brooklyn, On The Night of Anthony’s 30th Birthday Party, Again at the Manhattan Theatre Source, On Sunday Morning, by Collaboraction in Chicago; American Autobahnics at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The Connection is Made and Running Out of Time were both ACTF Regional Ten-Minute Play Finalists. Pontius is one of the highest paid TV writers… in Pakistan. He has written three serials, including Qaatil, Pakistan’s first tele-thriller, and most recently Neeyat, a 20 part drama set in New York City, as well as a number of episodes in the anthology series New York Stories. His work also includes multiple television spec pilots. He is the recipient of the Michener Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin where he received an MFA in Playwriting. He also studied at Dell’Arte, The International School of Physical Theater, and received the Nicholas Meyer Scholarship for Playwrighting from the University of Iowa, where he received a BA with Honors. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and The Playwrights Union. @LarryPontius