Mystical and Poetic, “The River” Mesmerizes
The protagonist, simply called The Man, sits in his cabin on cliffs above a river. He is visited by women he has known intimately, apparently, in the past, but seems to conflate his experiences with them. He seems to have adhered to the same behavioral pattern with all of them. Is he conducting a personal ritual with these women? Is he a seducer? Is he fantasizing? Director Amy Rummenie has us wondering throughout. Watching The River is like drifting into a dream with sublimely circular language and moments of action.
Andrew Erskine Wheeler bravely exposes The Man’s vulnerable nature and his organic need for women. That need may be the one absolutely certain thing in the play. Emily Grodzik and Elizabeth Efteland as The Woman and The Other Woman splendidly evoke vocal and physical movements that convey very different textures of what seem to be the same memory The Man is recalling. Clearly, Butterworth is musing numinously on the mystery of women. Ultimately, The River is a soulful meditation on how we fixate on how we think love is supposed to take shape in our lives.
Through Sept. 17
Open Eye Figure Theatre, 506 E 24th St., Minneapolis