Critics who saw a previous production of Sean Paraventi’s Love is Strange – now being staged by Slipstream Theatre Initiative – consistently noted that “it’s not for the squeamish.”
Color me squeamish, then. I’ll confess, I avoid horror movies because I have intense, visceral responses to depictions of violence and cruelty, especially when the victims are young women/girls. So, perhaps I’m not the “right” audience for Love is Strange; regardless, I tried going into Slipstream’s opening night performance with an open mind.
The play, directed by Bailey Boudreau, is set in the shabby home of a trucker named Carl (Ryan Ernst), who lives with 15 year old Megan (Grace Joliffe), a runaway he kidnapped from a truck stop when she was 12. Carl keeps Megan on a short leash, imprisoning her in a small closet – where she spent her first years with him – when she steps out of line, and giving her more freedoms when she proves herself worthy of his trust.
Megan suffers from Stockholm syndrome, playing house lovingly with her captor (when she’s not closeted), as if they’re a frisky young couple. But the audience soon learns that the pair shares an even darker, more violent connection, making them a kind of weirdly domesticated Bonnie and Clyde. READ THE REST HERE