When two paths collide, lives shatter. In a fragment of a second.
An Accident confronts us with J.R. Bruce’s symmetrical, suggestive set. A hospital bed sits on one side, a bench and a plot of soil on the other. All are empty. Above the bench hangs the twin of the bed’s cover, in shreds; above the bed hangs a crumbling mass of earth. Gradually, Stacy McKenney Nor’s lights shrink until we see only a blue vase, sitting on a pedestal, between them. As Jesse Mandapat’s music rises in a tense crescendo, the vase explodes.
When two paths collide, one or both may be ended. But neither will be as it was.
A woman in a robe (Kacie Rogers) takes a broom to sweep up the fragments. A man (Kent Faulcon) kneels by the plot to add soil.
The bed is hers; she lies in it, paralyzed from the neck down, bones broken, memory concussed out of her brain. He enters, with flowers. He is the man whose car hit her.
An Accident follows the relationship that develops between them. It’s a delicate dance, blending grief, anger, guilt, fear, despair, hope, gentleness… Tracing this dance, Stryk and her actors (and director Kate Jopson) do not miss a step — they also let us realize that each is a moment, not a resting place.
As the dance nears completion, we realize there will be no happy ending. No tragic one, either. Just the look of life as the paths go on, unwinding.
The last lights narrow, focusing on a single flower (from the garden plot) in what of the broken vase has survived.
An Accident explores a most unpoetic matter — a human body run over by a car — but does so with intense, careful poetry. The artists of the Griot Theatre handle it so well that at the end, we know we have found not revenge, not romance, but grace.
An Accident, by Lydia Stryk, directed by Kate Jopson.
Presented by Griot Theatre, at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood 90038.
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00,
Sundays at 3:00,
through October 29th.