- OnStage New England Critic
Peterborough, NH - In Annapurna, a play by Sharr White, Emma (Lisa Bostnar) shows up at her ex-husband Ulysses’ (Gus Kaikkonen) trailer in Paonia, Colorado after leaving him 20 years earlier and the two finally have a chance to discuss their complicated past, their son, and the uncertain future. Ulysses insists he cannot remember why Emma took their son in the middle of the night and left him and he doesn’t understand why she has come back after all this time. During the 80 minutes that follow we learn how this pair grew together, then apart, all the while holding on to love.
Annapurna is a portion of a mountain range in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal. Its peaks are known to be some of the most dangerous in the world to climb. Many lives have been lost or deeply changed by Annapurna. In the play, Ulysses refers to Emma as his Annapurna and it seems, though it was not directly stated, that Emma feels the same about Ulysses. They’ve impacted each other’s lives in such a way that they are forever changed.
Directed by Keith Stevens the story unfolds in and around a small, confined trailer, (set designed by Charles Morgan). Cluttered with books and papers, it mirrors the muddled mind of its owner, poet and former professor Ulysses. Gus Kaikkonen as Ulysses delivers a raw and riveting performance. The connection between him and Lisa Bostnar as Emma was completely authentic and they intensely captivated the audience from start to finish. As Emma, Bostnar showed both strength and vulnerability. Throughout the play a myriad of emotions were experienced by both the actors and the audience. These incredibly well-rounded and engaging actors brought to life two well-written and complex characters to tell a story that was at times funny, while at other times gut-wrenching. In the small, intimate theatre neither actor lost focus nor allowed the reactions of the audience to break through their fourth wall. It was as if the audience was merely a fly on the wall of Ulysses’ trailer watching their interaction take place.
This production is rated R due to strong language, adult themes and partial nudity. The New England premiere of Annapurna plays on the Peterborough Players stage, 55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, NH, until July 17th. For tickets call the box office at 603-924-7585 or check out www.PeterboroughPlayers.org
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