Theater

Love in the Time of Cowboys

Loving Badly in CoHo's Fool for Love

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THE COWBOY ICONOCLASM that characterizes Sam Shepard's plays is a little dusty these days, to be sure—but the raw, knock-down passions he chronicles have managed to stay relevant even in an era of online dating, enlightened males, and enforceable restraining orders. Fool for Love unfolds in a dingy motel room on the edge of a desert in the American West, a landscape of limitless possibilities whose characters are nonetheless trapped... by their own feelings.

May (Val Landrum) and Eddie (Chris Harder) are longtime lovers whose last split was meant to be final. But in that heedless disregard for a woman's feelings that occasionally passes for romance, Eddie has driven halfway across the country to find May, determined to have her back.

That Landrum and Harder have a palpable chemistry might be due to their off-stage relationship—the two are married "in real life," though it's safe to assume their offstage relationship is more functional than the one they describe here. In May's motel room, they circle and bait one another, excavating past misdeeds as the tequila bottle on the side table steadily empties.

The show's only off note, and unfortunately it's a recurring one, is the pantomimed door slams that seem to punctuate every argument—a silly device made even sillier by an occasional lack of synchronization between the motion and the accompanying sound effect. It's a little thing, to be sure, but it's a little thing that stands between the audience and a seamless immersion into the sweaty, sordid world of Eddie and May. Maybe that's a good thing, though—as the couple paces and rages like a pair of animals who've been caged too long, it's probably safer not to get too close.

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