The program for Thingamajig Theatre Companys production of Brilliant Traces is hooked inside the hardbound cover of a former book with two-ring binders. The scene, we are told, is a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska. A blizzard rages outside. The stage is set with actual furniture and antiques from Bull Chic and Ace Hardware in Pagosa Springs, and but for the stage notes, it would be easy to believe this play is set in remote Southwest Colorado.
Henry Harry sleeps alone in his cabin when his solitude is interrupted by the arrival of Rosannah DeLuce, a runaway bride from Arizona. The extended metaphor for the play by Cindy Lou Johnson might be summed up by the question Henry asks Rosannah: Did you get lost or did you lose your way? It is that subtle difference in meaning that this one-act play explores. Are these characters as damaged as they appear and is there any way for them to heal?
Brilliant Traces is a deceit set forth by the playwright to explore the scars of love. How did Rosannah get to this place, physically and psychologically? Did she leave the wedding or get left at the altar? And why is Harry living all alone, so far away from human interaction? Its a play thats equally comedic and anguished. The extended metaphors for life and love are woven and interwoven in a multi-layered baklava of elegiac imagery. There are moments the play slips into cliche and forced literary-ness, but most will not hear it in the poetic language. Its a dark and intense production and will linger with the viewer long after the theater lights have gone back up.
Henry and Rosannah are both running away, leaving something painful behind them. Its not unlike the story of many who choose to escape in the remote community of Pagosa Springs. Rosannah wants to be expansive and distinguishable. She feels the opposite, invisible. She is trying to keep her grip on reality, but shes not sure what is real and what is an illusion. The lines have blurred for her. Henry knows that running doesnt stop the pain. That isolation doesnt keep out the memories.
Henry says that we can only see what we can see. But for Rosannah, there is something more, something vital just outside her peripheral vision that if she could only see, would change everything. Its a play about heartbreak. Rosannah says, Your heart can actually break, you know?
And Henry does know. We learn about his heartbreak near the end of the 90-minute, one-act play. We learn why he believes that others are the wild card and that he has no semblance of control in his life with other people wandering in and out of it. We learn why his life requires a very certain amount of effort to live and not rip all of this to shreds.
Performed by the husband and wife team of Tim and Laura Moore, founders of the Thingamajig Theatre Company, this production of Brilliant Traces stands up because of their fine performances. The play requires comic timing and actors willing to delve into the depths of human emotions. Both show they have a wide range to bring to the stage. Their own human scars come to the surface in this play, which also is directed by Tim Moore who writes in the program, If were going to put ourselves through this kind of roller coaster for each show and we probably will let our scars leave brilliant traces.
They know what theyre in for. Both Moores worked in Breckenridge for the Backstage Theatre before relocating to Pagosa Springs. They have worked hard for well more than a year to bring a professional black box theater to the area. Go early, they have snacks and drinks available at the bar, live music to entertain until the curtain rises, and an exhibition of visual art from Alaska and the local area.
Leanne Goebel is a member of the International Association of Art Critics. Reach her at [email protected]