FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE
June 12, 2019
From under twisted sheets, moans and pants cut through the dark, atmospheric lighting where two bodies heave in unison. Caught in the throes of wild sex, the couple emerges, spent. Soon all that euphoria translates into questions--countless questions about the authenticity of their night of lovemaking and future liaisons.
Despite their thrilling compatibility in bed, Frankie (Audra McDonald) and Johnny (Michael Shannon) clash in the light of day.
Johnny, a short-order cook and Frankie, a waitress in the same restaurant share bits about their relatively unfulfilled lives.
Throughout Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune a two-act play by Terrence McNally, Frankie and Johnny bungee towards and away from each other, never fully knowing how close they’ll get before snapping back.
Their back-stories float up like auras of who they might have been until little by little, the puzzle pieces of each story fall into position.
Audra is deprecatingly matter-of-fact, while Johnny remains aspirational. Not interested in any sort of daily routine, Frankie’s protective of her independence. Already burnt once, she’s in no rush to be ensnared in another all consuming, one-sided relationship.
Spouting commentary from Shakespeare to ancient Greek philosophers, Johnny’s rough and tumble demeanor (enhanced by a naturally gravely voice) suggests a guy with either a romantic soul or dubious motives.
An imposing figure, Johnny’s palpable longing for genuine contact nearly eclipses Frankie’s apprehensions. Is this the start of a new relationship or just smoke dreams circling two middle-age people in search of something larger?
Under the direction of the talented Arin Arbus, the audience leaves holding its collective breath.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis