Story last updated at 1/23/2014 - 11:35 am
Audience members of Perseverance Theater's "Rush at Everlasting," the world premiere of a play by Alaska playwright Arlitia Jones, can be sure of a few things. The dialogue between Ruby Gold and "The Woman Who Would Come to be Known As..." (I'll just call her "Jade") will be witty and entertaining. You'll be struck by the descriptive power of a few lines in particular, as is the case in poetry, something in which Jones has a background.
Calling someone a "pig-necked bank manager," the threat to hang Gold out a window "'til the crows peck holes in your teeth," and the idea of catching "a fistful of that winter storm just to throw it back at what's hating you," are just some of the phrases I found especially striking.
What you can't count on quite as much is the characters' truthfulness, a fact that is reflected in their names: "Ruby Gold," "The Woman who Would Come to be Known As," and "The Man Sometimes Known as Jim Ryan." One storyline in particular is thrown into question.
"Rush at Everlasting" is set both in 1933(ish) Chicago and in 1908(ish) Alaska, alternating between the two time periods. In 1933, Jade and Gold plot a bank robbery. In 1908, Gold interacts with a man she met before anyone could ever have called her "old quince" or convince her to feign being a palsied old woman in a wheelchair. Both time periods are affected by an encounter Gold had in 1896 with a certain notorious bank robber. Jones also weaves in an allegorical story about a lost little boy.
As a side note, one can't help but be impressed at Paul Schweigert, who came to the play only after Tom Robenolt, a Perseverance staff member and the man cast as "...Jim Ryan" was injured opening night. At the time I saw it, Schweigert had had less than a week to learn his lines, but had managed most of the play. And even the parts on which he relied on a script as backup he managed in a way that was minimally distracting.
Throughout various scenes, Gold is putting together a puzzle of a woman neither she nor Jade will ever be - and which neither of them wants to be.
The play gets at themes many women - and people in general - can identify with, or at least recognize: the fear that life will pass you by, a desire for things (or riches) far from one's reality, the desire to be remembered (or, in the 20th-century real-time equivalent, famous) for something, anything.
I'm just delving into the world of reviews, and while I'm hesitant in general to say anything negative about anyone's artistic effort, I really wouldn't have much to criticize here. The play was linguistically and dramatically enjoyable, and if I were to judge by the reactions of those around me, I wasn't the only one that thought so.