A Loss of Initial Charm
It’s smart, savvy and sometimes comical. The script is well-written and the actors perform with poise and pride. The set is also the most ambitious of any production at the Gene Frankel Theatre during the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.
But somewhere during the 60-minutes that encapsulate Tyler Ham Pong’s “Two Days ‘Til Dawn,” the production loses its charm.
While many say that charm is developed later in life, this production has most of its at the very beginning.
Scrambled in pretty metaphor and eloquent language, the play forfeits its charisma as it lingers to the finish line.
While it is still ultimately enjoyable, the play’s eventual success has more to with the cast’s ability than the script itself.
Lost in a web of lost dreams, Sol (Geoffrey Pomeroy)is unable to break a potentially career-ending case of writer’s block and ultimately, the witty, yet temperamental scribe has a nervous breakdown. Infectiously cheeky, Pomeroy is able to make himself a compelling character and one any serious writer will be able to identify with. From his lack of short-term memory to his endless amount of useless knowledge, he nails his part.
But before long, the production, much like Pomeroy’s character, looses its contact with reality. This is where things begin to go astray. After a scene that sees him interacting with his family, Sol faints and is eventually greeted by a ghost. Two more find their way into the play by its end. Their mission? To help Sol find a way out of his self-made abyss and put the pieces of his life back together.
While the interactions between Sol and the ghosts are interesting, it all feels too much like “The Secret Window” meets “A Christmas Carol.” It’s too predictable that Sol will somehow be saved and live to fight another day. With all of his problems, Sol deserves more than a linear ending.
It’s sad that a production with so much potential was tied up in such a pretty bow with so little left to the imagination.
The supporting plot however, which sees Sol in a silent competition with his wife (Mary Monahan), also a writer, was much more intriguing. Forced to keep himself together while his niece, Jennifer (Jillian K. Waters) spends the weekend, we can see this character’s desperation to keep it all together firsthand. Add in his sly stepbrother (Anthony Ames) who has an agenda all his own and you have a story that practically tells itself.
Instead, the production has flashes of brilliance, but in the end, doesn’t deliver. Had the play focused more on the real drama and not the illusions, there would have been far less drag and the end product would have felt more organic.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy the performance though. It just means that you’ll leave wanting more of something that Pong’s script isn’t capable of giving.