Magic successfully revives ‘Fool for Love’
Jealousy and obsessive love are just two of the emotions driving Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.”
Magic Theatre, where the play premiered in 1983, is presenting a compelling revival directed by artistic director Loretta Greco.
It’s set in a rundown motel at the edge of the Mojave Desert, where May (Jessi Campbell) is trying to start a new life after leaving her cowboy lover, Eddie (Andrew Pastides). As it opens, Eddie has arrived and is trying unsuccessfully to convince her to return to Wyoming with him.
She’s jealous that he has been seeing a woman whom she calls the countess. He gets upset when he learns that she has a date that night.
There’s a push-pull attraction between them, one that began 15 years ago and has been rocky ever since. This rockiness surfaces at the motel as the two verbally and physically clash.
Some of their history is revealed with the arrival of May’s date, the unassuming Martin (Patrick Russell). Observing it all and sometimes speaking to May or Eddie is The Old Man (Rod Gnapp), who seems to know a great deal about them.
The countess is the fifth character. She’s unseen, but she causes lots of trouble.
The play runs only about 75 minutes without intermission, but it’s fraught with tension and ends with questions.
Greco’s direction of this well chosen cast is spot on. The sexual attraction between May and Eddie is palpable, as is the potential for violence, while Gnapp as The Old Man and Russell as Martin provide some occasional relief.
Adding even more tension to this production are Sara Huddleston’s sound and Christopher Akerlind’s lighting. Both are so realistic and scary that when the countess strikes outside, the audience can’’t help looking that way to see what’s happening.
The bare bones set and character-specific costumes are by Andrew Boyce. Dave Maier is the fight director.
Demand for tickets has been so strong that the play has been extended for a week through March 5 at Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. For tickets and information, call (415) 441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.