Audible gasps, bellowing laughter that drowned out a few lines, and shocked silence were part of Saturday night’s performance of "Reckless," written by Craig Lucas and directed by Jim Dick.
The story opens with Rachel, the main character, cooing over her perfect Christmas tree and raving about how much she loves Christmas. Suddenly, her husband, Tom, bursts out in tears and exclaims he took a contract out on her life.
Rachel is flung into a confused adventure where she meets new friends, sees a myriad psychologists, and eventually comes to terms with who she is as a person.
The dark comedy had audience members laughing one moment and holding back tears the next. One audience member, Kimberly Rovrahn, who has been a longtime friend of the actress who plays Rachel, Jacquelyn O’Connor, said the performance kept her on the edge of her seat.
“I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next, and some of my guesses were right, but a lot of them were wrong,” Rovrahn said. “The whole performance was quite clever how everything lead to something else and everything happened for a reason, which was one of the themes.”
Rovrahn was accompanied by a friend, Jim Stukey, who was one of O’Connor’s directors when she was at Burlington High School.
“I thought it was very unexpected,” Stukey said. “I came into this thinking it was just going to be a drama or something and it was funny. I feel great now. It made me laugh, and I love to laugh.”
While there were plenty of jokes, and Rachel kept the energy light and fun, there were plenty of moments when the audience was stunned with how surreal life was portrayed.
“It really isn’t your typical Christmas story,” Ravrahn said. “But I think that’s the point. Christmas and the holidays are supposed to be this magical time when you’re with family and the ones who love you, but at the same time it is often full of heartbreak and trauma because you’re with family and the ones who love you. I related very much.”
The play spun and twisted through many different directions that explaining the plot to someone who hadn’t sat through it would be a challenge. However, Stukey said he found the writing enjoyable and fascinating.
“I loved how you didn’t know what was going to happen, but you also saw how everything came back full circle, and despite going through some really awful stuff, Rachel came into her own at the end,” Stukey said. “Which makes me even happier seeing Jacquelyn playing her after watching her grow in high school. It is a great role for her.”
Reckless, the last play of the semester, will be performed on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, all at 7:30 p.m at the William Inge Memorial Theatre in Murphy Hall.
— Edited by Minami Levonowich