Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
2 Across unfurls on a bright, stark stage that matches the atmosphere of a subway train. Together, Ardean Landhuis' lighting and David Hart's carefully tailored sounds simulate a long and lonely train ride across town. We first meet Granite Janet (Barbara Sloan), a well-dressed psychologist, during an emotional moment. The gray and blue hues of the train seats and poles are a nice backdrop for her mood. Landhuis' scenic design is bold and true, complete with a doorway that allows the audience to peer into the façade of the next car (unfortunately, the seats in the next car don't match the ones onstage).
Unemployed Josh (David R. Gordon) narrowly makes it into the car before the door closes and the train pulls out, but he wastes no time in asking Janet to move so he can sit in his "lucky seat." Her seat is his lucky seat because that's where he typically works on the New York Times crossword puzzle. A conversation about the latest puzzle soon balloons into solving the puzzles of each other's lives. And what was once an invasion of space evolves into a mutually enjoyable, shared space, all spring-boarding from a chance meeting at 4:30am.
2 Across is a sweet exploration of the beginning of a relationship that may not have begun in any other circumstances than the ones set by the playwright. Late night and in a confined space, these two very different characters, she a Catholic and he a Jew, she high-strung and he relaxed, come together and allow their outer layers to be unpeeled. They share food and drink on their very first, makeshift "date," and a spark, or better yet, a smolder begins. Under Deborah Kondelik's direction, Sloan and Gordon start off cold and then rev up to make us smile, laugh and wonder. In a tender scene, in which Josh compliments Janet, not the first time but the first time effective, Sloan's facial expression curls and lightens up like a schoolgirl's. For Pigs Do Fly Productions, a theatre company whose mission is to feature characters over 50 living "interesting and active and real lives," this moment and this 90-minute (no intermission) show is a crowning achievement.
2 Across, through March 24, 2019, for Pigs Do Fly Productions at the Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale FL. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm. Tickets are available at www.pigsdoflyproductions.com for $39 or by calling 866-811-4111.