Despite script issues, CATTheatre’s ‘Now Then Again’ shows love across time
“Neutrons are weird.” They can travel back and forward in time in a metaphysical “handshake in time” where the past and the future can affect each other. Now. Then. Again.
Don’t worry science and math-phobes, an understanding of quantum mechanics is not necessary for understanding Penny Penniston’s play Now Then Again currently running at CAT Theatre.
Now Then Again is a love story set at Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory and tells the story of two scientists – Ginny (Rebecca Turner) and Henry (Matt Hackman) who believe in facts, not destiny.
They are drawn together, despite this, by the almost supernatural meddling of Felix (Elliot Eisenberg), the Lab’s handyman and the heart of the show.
Felix is convinced that Ginny and Matt are destined to be together. Though Ginny is already married, and Matt is beyond socially awkward (“Not everybody gets a sex life. Some of us just get cool computers.”), Felix has seen them fall in love under a burnt out light bulb.
Told in two acts – Now told in ten scenes moving forward in time, and Now told in the same ten scenes moving backward in time – the play is delightful in concept but hampered by a sometimes lackluster and unoriginal script.
It is Melissa Rayford’s skillfull direction of a group of strong actors who made the very best of the script’s weakness that saves CAT Theatre’s production of Now Then Again from inducing the doldrums.
And the cast provides for tender and shining moments. It is hard not to feel the tugs at the heartstrings at Henry’s bumbling efforts to win Ginny’s heart. And Felix’s blind devotion to his visions of the starstruck lovers is endearing. The self important and pompous Dr. Armand Trousant (Craig M. Smith) provides comic relief as well.
Now Then Again continues through April 4, 2015 at Chamberlayne Actor’s Theatre (CAT Theatre) at 319 North Wilkinson Road, RVA 23227 and can be purchased by visiting www.cattheatre.com.
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
Perhaps the usher should have handed out boxes of tissue along with the friendly reminder to use the restroom before the show.February 21, 2017
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