“Ages of the Moon” at RAT

Isolation is the story; friendship shines like the moon, in this Sam Shepard play.

~Review and photos by Dana Nollsch~

Two old friends come together and find that they have aged less gracefully than they had hoped. Mutual loss and questionable choices cement the friendship that they have shared but hidden desires and secrets have strained the reunion at the cabin in the woods.

This is one of Sam Shepard’s last plays, written in 2009, and is certainly one of my favorites. There is no intermission as the play is just over an hour in length, but there is a density in every moment.

The story starts as we learn that Ames has called his old friend Byron to come to him at the cabin in the woods to comfort him in this time of need, Ames is fearful that his wife will leave him after finding out a secret that challenges their relationship. We see the deep friendship between these two men, tempered by secrets and the fact that they have not kept in touch for the past few years. Seeing how each other has aged reminds them that time is the relentless foe, offering much but also taking in equal amounts.

This is a brilliant play that focuses on the story and on the dialog. The story shines as we see one of the best examples of Sam Shepard creating a simple but deep story with a minimalist feel. Often poignant and funny “Ages of the Moon” dives deep into how important friendship between two men can be as the ravages of time and the loss of what is held dear take its toll.

A good story can only take you so far, it is the players who breathe life into the tale. Restless Artist Theater’s production of “Ages of the Moon” has the perfect pair of actors breathing that life into this story.

Ames is played by Blair Anthony, Blair plays the role with a hardness of a man who has lived a life to the fullest but also shows his love and respect for his longtime friend. Ames calls his friend to be at his side in his time of need and realizes that his friend has also felt loss and is calling out for some comfort. As you watch the play you will enjoy the many expressions that Blair brings to his role.

Chris Talbot plays Byron, Ames’s longtime friend who comes to help his friend in this time of need, taking a long bus ride to be by his side. Chris shows the vulnerability in Byron as secrets come to the surface and tensions rise between the two old friends.

These two actors share a longtime personal friendship that I feel adds a familiarity to the characters they play off of each other.

Pulling it all together is the directing skills of Doug Mishler, he also designed and built the set. Doug is the mastermind and driving force for Restless Artist Theater.

There are moments of laughter and moments of tears in “Ages of the Moon” and I have no doubt that anyone who is lucky to be in the audience for a performance will walk away not only entertained but also perhaps moved to tears.

Be aware that there are loud gunshots in the performance.

“Ages of the Moon” plays through June 10th.

For more information, check out RAT’s website: http://rattheatre.org/

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