Catch is one of the few basic children’s games that applies to all stages of life. By taking turns throwing and catching the ball, rest periods are built into the game, giving participants an opportunity to reflect on past choices and prepare for future choices.
Richard Holman expands on that metaphor:back and forth– A small play about two friends reuniting after a year and a half of quarantine due to COVID-19. Their routine catch turns into a catch-up about their time apart. The resulting production was staged at Central Park’s East Meadow, fringed by rock outcrops The piece blossoms into a nifty meditation on the thief nature of time and the different chapters of adulthood, but it lacks one ingredient that every game of Toss needs: gravity.
Holman also stars as Marty, a bachelor in his late 30s who tends to relive his glory days, and Chris Roberty, who finds it hard to walk around barefoot, trapped in a far too cluttered apartment. He plays a young father, Drew, who is the same age as Drew. anything bagel. Marty is eager to reunite, but Drew remains vigilant, clutching his secret as tightly as a mitt. Director Katie Young subdues the initial monotony of their languid dialogue into a steady rhythm, further revealing the incoherence of their dialogue.
Holman’s script depicts the canonical changes in home life as Marty and Drew deal with aging bodies, babies, and breakups. And while Drew’s transformation suggests something more insidious, the play chooses the simplest of endless horrors an isolation play can choose. Simple but true. Even a small secret can feel like a malicious betrayal if it is known to a dear friend.
At just 45 minutes, Back and Forth barely has time to offer more depth. The real charm of this show lies in its unique staging. Audiences sit a few yards away and witness the action as they listen to the men’s conversations on the radio provided by the production. Both performers humorously improvise with passing joggers, children and dogs, unwittingly joining the action and being able to easily orient each other back to the script.
There is also the loveliness of Young’s direct production. Marty and Drew’s pitching and catching cadence reflects their heightened emotions. And then there’s the silent stretch throughout, where the sound of a ball being smashed into a mitt echoes like the dull ticking of an aging clock.
“Back and Force” premiered in the fall of 2021, at a time when a new strain of the virus threatened to isolate New Yorkers once again, so much of the love for the play is still in its timing. depends on His next two years may seem small in the big picture, but they contain big things that last forever. And while the play raises timeless themes, “Back and Forth” feels more than just set in 2021, it doesn’t get out of it.
back and forth
Until July 23rd at Central Park East Meadow in Manhattan. Back and Foreplay.com. Running time: 45 minutes.
This review is supported by Critical Minded, an effort to invest in the work of cultural critics from historically underrepresented backgrounds.