“Two Fisted Love” by David Sessions follows a dysfunctional upper-class family in Silicon Valley in 2008. The celebrity wife, Caroline Connors (Serena Scott Thomas), has been afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis and the play explores the way the family deals with her illness and their own personal troubles.
The show’s subject matter is not for the faint of heart. The themes touched upon in the show are dark and complex, revealing the imperfections that can be hidden inside seemingly perfect lives. The play raised interesting questions about life, love, and privilege, but didn’t successfully articulate any answers. Most of the show’s message was muffled by the overwhelming amount of radical plot points. The sudden shifts made the play feel disjointed and confusing from a textual standpoint and at times the time differences between scenes were unclear.
Despite a confusing takeaway from the text, the actors in the production convey very clear and dynamic emotions. Almost every character has a moment or two to divulge their feelings through monologues and each feels like a wonderfully mesmerizing small play within the main plot. Thomas’s monologues are filled with an amazing amount of heart and power. Her ability to portray her rapidly degenerating health physical is very impressive. The play’s plot makes her seem like a passive player, who has horrible things just happen to her, but her dialogue gives her a strong fighting spirit that makes you want to root for her. Her daughter, Rachel (Laura Long), is clearly related to Caroline because they exude a similar amount of emotional vigor and zest. The only difference is their differing opinions and physical capabilities. Their performances, overall, are consistently captivating and display the real love and hate found within a complex mother and daughter relationship. It is also quite impressive to see the playwright, David Sessions, take on the role of Kevin. It gives Kevin a strong sense of authenticity because his words are the words of Sessions himself.
The set design by John Iacovelli is wonderfully executed. The pristine white set contrasts the internal dark and messy nature of the show’s characters. When entering the theater, it immediately establishes a strong sense of place and who would live there.
Overall I left the play confused about what specifically to take away from the performance, however, the effects of the emotional roller coaster the play took its audience on lingered.
"Two Fisted Love" will be playing Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until March 11th at the Odyssey Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at www.twofistedlove.com.