I was captivated by Steven Dietz’s beguiling play, Lonely Planet, when I first saw it performed last year.
The play is a serious piece, but with a humorous edge to it that is simply fabulous and quite poignant. Alexander McMorran and Aaron Vodovoz reprise their roles as Jody and Carl. Vodovoz’s rapid delivery of Dietz’s crisp script has a Woody Allen quality to it that reinforces the neurosis he is experiencing, his Jewish guilt, lack of faith and intolerance all make for very amusing scenes. This, partnered with Jody’s anxieties, give the piece further power and strength, especially when the two actors have monologues that are deliberately directed to the audience.
The play is about the casualties of AIDS and Carl collects a chair from each of his friends’ apartments that have died. This is his piece of them, something tangible he can hold onto, and needs to store them in Jody’s map shop. This is good theatre and where Dietz includes political satire, such as the lampooning of Richard Nixon, it fleshes out the play splendidly. The blurring of fantasy and reality is present in most people’s lives and the clever use of symbolism and the simple construction of this play make it work. Lonely Planet features stunning performance by two actors totally inhabiting their roles and it is exceptional and relevant theatre.