Monday, November 10, 2014


                                                                        Jonathan Gregg
Thirty years ago playwright John Patrick Shanley penned a two person play that is still devastatingly raw and emotional.  On an elemental level, the pair are the epitome of unhappiness, the poster children for loneliness and alienation, each calling upon violence as a temporary solution to their intense problems.

With the colorful and simple title of "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," this intense drama might seem at first blush to be a play for children.  Please disavow yourself of that mistaken assumption immediately.  According to Playhouse on Park's director Sean Harris, this work, long a favorite of his, may be the first production of the play ever in Connecticut.  As part  of the theater's On the Edge series, it will play weekends until Sunday, November 16 at their West Hartford location on 244 Park Road.

Sitting at solo tables in a seedy bar, Roberta, a bitter divorced mother with a teenage son, initially won't share her pretzels.  Also sitting alone, Danny, a trucker who habitually uses his fists to resolve any confrontations, reluctantly offers her a refill of beer.  These two loners, with enough problems to fill a giant statue of Paul Bunyan, tentatively reach out and expose the demons that plague them.

Erin Lindsay Krom and Jonathan Gregg are convincingly flawed individuals, letting their emotional pain ooze out.  Their acting is exquisitely vulnerable and real.  They have no inhibitions:  what they think and feel they say.  Both are unbelievably unhappy.  Roberta has a terrible secret she has never shared.  She tells Danny.  He thinks he may have killed a man the night before.  She wants to help him.

Can these two damaged souls find healing in each other's arms?  Are they capable of changing their self-destructive ways?  Will forgiveness and redemption be the answers they seek?

To director Harris, "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" is "a mix of brutality and beauty.  They see love and life without a filter.  They are honest and say what they feel. Ultimately it is hopeful."

For tickets ($22.50, students and seniors $20), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ex. 10 or online at  Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m and Sunday at 7 p.m.

You cannot help but feel the pain of these two disenfranchised souls who share thin threads of tenderness despite the odds stacked against them.

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