A NoHo Arts theatre review of the Victory Theatre Center’s production of “A Terminal Event,” written by Richard Willett, directed by Maria Gobetti, and produced by Maria Gobetti and Gabriel Ormeny, running through July 10.
The Victory Theatre Center is back! “A Terminal Event” is their first live play as they reopened gleefully. The past two years have been tough on small theatre, on any theatre in fact. But the wonderful folks at the Victory have spent the time sprucing up their lovely little theatre with new air conditioning and I think new seats? Not sure, but I was very comfortable as I waited impatiently for their new show to begin.
I wasn’t disappointed, but then I never am with Maria Gobetti and Tom Ormeny at the helm of the little theatre that could.
“A Terminal Event” is a wonderful, very cleverly written play about finding love in unexpected places with unexpected people. It’s about taking risks with our hearts even when the risks are high and the outcome potentially dim.
An aspiring actress takes a new job as a medical receptionist at an oncologist’s office, her fallback career. Many of the patients that she meets are very ill. Cancer is treatable and survivable but in some cases, it is not and it is particularly dire for the two patients that feature in this play, and who will not survive.
The first is a woman with bowel cancer. She is sweet, shy, middle aged, and she put off seeing the doctor because she was scared to find out just how bad it was, which of course made things much worse. The actress treats her with empathy and kindness and quite unexpectedly become friends. The second patient is one who has rejected western medicine as a means to treat his colon cancer, popping into the office once a month to renew his pain medication prescription. It is this man that she begins a relationship with and ultimately falls deeply for.
Their relationship unfolds beautifully on stage as they tiptoe around falling in love under such heartbreaking and tenuous circumstances. He talks about the purpose of a life and how vital it is to allow a life to authentically exist without preconceived ideas about how and why it takes us on paths it does. We are all so busy trying to fulfill ourselves with work or relationships or something else that we don’t see the life we have as a force of its own. A gift that we have little control over in so many ways. We should recognise that we are often at the mercy of circumstance and that if we let go perhaps we might find our real purpose more easily and that it could be something totally unexpected and beautiful.
It’s a lot to take in, particularly for the actress who challenges the doctor about why he can give hope when there is none. All these disparate characters exist, collide and affect each other in so many ways. Not chaos, more like fate and the universe’s cause and effect. It’s a lovely thought and it gives us all a little comfort in times like these when so much seems to be so tremulous and fearful.
The performances are wonderful. There’s a lot of humour in this play, even though the subject matter might seem heavy. But then we must find joy in each other, even when life is at its darkest. And so the humor is perfectly placed, it’s very natural and profoundly moving.
“A Terminal Event” is running through July 10 at the Victory Theatre Center. After so much fear of the unknowable over the past two years, the arts and particularly the theatre can be a place of solace and discovery and perhaps even a little peace.
Cast and Team:
Starring Laura Coover, Marshall McCabe, Tom Ormeny and Randi Lynne Weidman.
Set Design by Evan Bartoletti
Props by Jodi Turner
Costumes by Sam Salman
Composer John Brained
Lighting Design by Carol Doehring
Sound design by Chris Brown
Running through July 10
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm
The Victory Theatre Center
3326 Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505