This is the story of a relationship between a man and a woman who meet at a coffee shop and spend the next 15 years together through love and marriage.
Welcome to a world, a very meandering path, where any of the specifics can change except for the ending.
A universe where tragedy meets us, the audience, at every nook, corner and cranny and the mechanics of a solid marriage, such as career, family and aspirations, are built on shifting sands not immovable boulders.
Bruggeman's haunting and deeply ethereal language makes us and keeps us aware of the fact that this shared journey is navigated on a winding road of memories designed to make us consider the fleeting nature of existence and love.
The University of Florida graduate and Los Angeles-based writer takes us on a trip through the light fantastic that does not disappoint.
The premise of this new play, first seen by company members at this past year's Hollywood Fringe Festival, is uniquely original and eye-opening in scope and scale.
The words here are as brutal and raw as they are tender and wise in nature. The subjects, syntax and syllables connect like a kinetic and electric violin string that is deftly and dogmatically strummed without a hint of shame or self-pity.
The imagination and possibility here are not only seen in the bonding and marriage of Whitney and Jake, but in the guides, a group of darkly-dressed characters who function as points of light for the past, present and future.
Eric Cire's direction allows the guides a very important role in this production, and helps point you to a fuller understanding of the nuts and bolts of love.
Cire understands the nature of love. In making sense of it himself, he aids us in realizing that though love might turn one's world upside down, it may be for the better.
Yet being the realist that he is, Cire also furthers the notion that true love is highly imperfect and does not, perhaps, conquer all.
In his directorial debut, Cire tells the story visually and verbally by letting the actors talk, twist and turn like manna from the sky.
This is a fine beginning, complete with a nimble eye and ear eager for more work on this sort of resplendent artistic pasture.
Cire assembles a top-notch cast that is rarely out-of-step with his unique vision.
The sole stand out is Margaret Glaccum (Guide, Pro Basketball Fan, Boss) who steals the show. Her inspired and illuminated turn proves to be one the play hinges on from beginning to end.
Whether a sincere, but wayward guide, a tough-talking and drinking NBA Dallas Mavericks fan or Whitney's no-holds barred boss at work, the Western Oregon University Acting BFA and independent film actress inhabits each character with great passion, intelligence and instinct. Her intuition, it seems, leads only to bolder and better choices.
This critic hopes to see Glaccum on more stages in North Hollywood or Los Angeles again soon.
"Only the Moon Howls," then, succeeds because of the courageous choices it makes, not despite them.
Moving bravely from then to now and now to then, the play, which lasts less than an hour without an intermission, proves that a work of art does not have to be linear or mathematical to succeed.
The play also makes it clear that the greatest disruption in life is what is left unsaid and undone to those we love at the end.
This it utters with glistening tongue, Herculean voice and commanding presence.
This play is a big, bold and beautiful gift from the drama gods that forces us to consider our humanity while laughing at the frailty and phobias of life's unspoken triumphs and tragedies.
Theatre Unleashed is that rarest of theatre companies that gazes ahead to the future while staying active in the present, and looks behind to the past while remaining creative in the now.
One can say the same about the play it currently produces.
When both company and work are in such perfect synchronicity, magic often follows.
Here it is magnified by oh, so much more than smoke and mirrors.
The dialogue, direction and dead-on characterization make it a truly rare and memorable theatrical experience on every level, seen and unseen, felt and not felt.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Special Monday shows on Feb. 27th and March 7th.
General Admission: $15
Discounted tickets can be found on Goldstar.com.
Information and Admission: (818) 849-4039
The Belfry Stage
Upstairs at the Crown
11031 Camarillo Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602