FOOL FOR LOVE, Sam Shepard’s treatise on love/hate relationships, premiered in 1983. In 1984, the play won Obie Awards for Best Director, Best American Play, and Performers Ed Harris, Kathy Baker, and Will Patton. FOOL FOR LOVE was also a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize. A film version followed in 1985 which starred author Sam Shepard and female lead Kim Basinger. Clearly, Shepard’s message resounded with many.
FOOL FOR LOVE is a story of the dark downside of love – from steamy to stormy. Set in a cheap motel on the border of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, FOOL FOR LOVE examines the many avenues which love may take as Eddie (Sam Breen) and May (Kalean Ung) battle it out with kisses and gut punches, poignant memories and shattered dreams. Theirs has been a back and forth relationship which snaps, reunites, and again falls by the wayside, seemingly a pattern which has gone on for years. As the play opens, Eddie has tracked down his former lover and driven over a thousand miles to California to mend fences. But May just isn’t buying living in a trailer on an isolated piece of barren land in far off Wyoming. Besides, she’s now got new boyfriend Martin (Shaun Bedgood) who’s interested in offering her help (and maybe a few added benefits). Fading in and out of scenes appears the shadowy form of The Old Man (Thomas Ashworth), a mysterious figure whose exquisite importance only becomes clear as the tale progresses.
Director Armina LaManna has done a good job of bringing Shepard’s piece, warts and more warts, together in this study of love that is never quite lost – but is never really found either. Ung and Breen manage to convey this passionate couple as real people facing real and probably insoluble problems. Bedgood is appropriately befuddled as the innocent who has unknowingly stepped into the eye of the storm. Ashworth hemorrhages secrets with eerie composure.
Digital theater technical consultant Gabrieal Griego smooths the play’s transition into a streaming feature with cinematography by Keida Mascaro. Crescent Moon LA has done an excellent job of pulling Shepard’s complex tale together. FOOL FOR LOVE is an intriguing take on love – forbidden and otherwise. Fans of Shepard will know what to expect and find the play entertaining in its own special way. Theater-goers unfamiliar with Shepard’s work might find the topics the play touches upon difficult – but also nitty-gritty real. And everyone who has ever faced relationship quandaries will find FOOL FOR LOVE fascinating.
FOOL FOR LOVE streams at 4 p.m. (PST) on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7, 2021. The play is on a “Pay What You Can” basis, but donations are accepted. For information and reservations, go online. Go to Twitter and Instagram for information about upcoming Crescent Moon LA events.