Strangers When We Meet

At any rate, the resulting drama is propelled by people you'd move away from as quickly as possible if you met them at a dinner party. Their sort of annoying behavior can be used to good effect, particularly in comedies. After all, you wouldn't want to have anyone on Married ... with Children for a neighbor. But revulsion is probably not the reaction the Actors' Project Theatre Company is aiming for. Brilliant Traces burdens its actors with having to make insubstantial characters interesting. I'm not sure that even stars as effervescent as Joan Cusack and Kevin Anderson could make these people entertaining, but neither Tom Wahl, who plays Henry in this production, nor Irene Adjan, as Rosannah, gives the kind of performance that can carry off half of a two-hander, much less one as shallow as this.

Actually, I came away from the play unsure of several things. For example, why does director Amy London let Wahl waste so much valuable stage time taking off Rosannah's wedding dress after she falls asleep? (Personally, if someone fell asleep in my bed in something worn during a 2000-mile trek without washing, I'd cut if off with scissors. And believe me, it wouldn't take three minutes.)

If I were the director of Brilliant Traces, I'd want my actor to use the scene to convey some essential bits of information about Henry, who, after all, remains a cipher until two-thirds of the way through. I'd want the lighting person to use a lot more subtlety. But most of all, before I even started, I'd want my mother to suggest a better play.

Brilliant Traces.
Written by Cindy Lou Johnson; directed by Amy London; with Tom Wahl and Irene Adjan. Through September 27. Actors' Project Theatre Company at the Studio, 640 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale; 954-340-8063.

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