How well do our family and closest friends really know us? Can we ever really know someone? That is the question asked, I think, in Craig Lucas’ zany comedy/drama Reckless that opens today at the Biltmore Theatre.
Rachel is having a “euphoria attack”
Rachel seems to have the perfect life, a loving husband and two sons. She is so happy that she thinks she might have an “attack of euphoria.” On Christmas Eve all that changes when her husband, riddled with guilt, confesses that he has taken a contract out on her life, and that she better escape through the window. Rachel, dressed in nothing but her nightgown, leaves her home and family feeling utterly confused and bewildered saying only that this is “so mean.” She is picked up by an man, Lloyd, and taken to his home, where she takes up residence with him and his paraplegic deaf mute wife Pooty. She gets a job as a desk clerk, and sees a half a dozen numbingly similar therapists trying to “cure” her. From there she learns that appearances are not always what they seem and that most people have a deep dark secret like her.
Lucas blurs the line between reality and fantasy so much that I was never quite clear about whether things were really happening or apart of Rachel’s mind. At one point I was convinced that she would awake from a dream at the end of the play. Lucas takes a look at a few of life’s most asked questions. What I think Lucas is trying to get at for the most part is that no matter how much we know someone, we never really know them, and that a person’s appearance may have nothing to do with who they really are. Rachel discovers this in a big way. First her husband, whom she thinks is perfect, has hired a hit-man to kill her. Then everyone she meets from then on is not who they seem to be, Lloyd, Pooty, and her co-worker are all hiding some secret.
Rachel must yet again escape an unpleasent situation
The other thing Lucas is trying to get at is that much of our life is not in our hands, but in the hands of coincidence and fate. Rachel is an innocent woman whose life changes forever because of one event, and everything that happens to her can be traced back to that one moment when she climbed out of her bedroom window. The problem with Lucas’ vision is that there are times when what he is getting at is so twisted and absurd that you can’t figure it out. The end of the play finally becomes understandable, but after seeing the rest of the craziness in the play, the end seems out of place. It is almost too normal. I have also thought that Lucas may be using the change in style of the play as a metaphor for the change in Rachel from the beginning, but this play is so zany that I am not sure.
The stellar cast is led by Mary Louise Parker who is known to Craig Lucas’ work having starred in Prelude To A Kiss. She is very likeable as Rachel and shows the change Rachel goes through effortlessly. Parker plays her a being very naive and almost dumb in the beginning, but by the end she has been beaten up by life and has lost all her sense of whimsy and faith in the world. Rosie Perez stars as Pooty, the paraplegic deaf mute. I thought it was a ingenious casting choice since she is most known for her voice, and for half of the play she doesn’t use it. When she does reveal her secret her voice makes it all the more funny.
Recklesshas a extraordinary ensemble. The highlight was Jeremy Shamos. One of his many roles was the hilarious host of the game show “Your Mother or your Wife.” Olga Merediz was also funny as Rachel’s desk clerk who was unwilling to give up her computer. Thomas Sadoski played dual roles as Rachel’s husband and her grown up son, but it is in the latter that he really shined expressing what affect Rachel’s leaving had on him.
Reckless had some really funny moments, but the problem is that most of the time you are trying to figure out what is going on. Once you figure that out you realize the brilliance behind the madness, but it would have been even more brilliant if it was more apparent.Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.