By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Beane is a mess. A scrawny lad with a dead-end job, he lives like a hermit surrounded by a landscape of clutter.
Then he discovers an unlikely romance with a woman trying to rob him, you know, like stealing his heart. His tortured soul leaps at the promise of love.
More than just a quirky relationship story, “Love Song” tells us how the joy of romance can make us sing, make us alive.
The two-hour comedy-drama is being performed by the all-student Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project at Anderson University. Performances are in Byrum Hall at 7:30 p.m. today, March 1 and 2 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and March 3. Its honesty and language, however, are not appropriate for youngsters.
While there is no real singing here, there is a lot of jumping for joy and shifts in attitude.
The real action begins a few minutes before the curtain goes up. Beane, played effectively and with wide range by senior Jordan Moody, is first seen in quiet agony, stalking the stage and rolling amid the litter that is his life. As he moves about, watch Moody’s silent confusion but also take a look also at the incredible stage designed by Kat Warner. Clothes hang like ghosts from the ceiling; Beane’s apartment could be a tent city for the homeless. The stage lighting becomes as diffuse as Beane’s emotions as it hits the tarps and street junk that fill the set.
As the play starts, Beane is robbed in his apartment by Molly, played with commitment by Kristen Huber. The role of Molly is difficult; she has few comedic lines to work. Huber, however, nicely balances her thug introduction against that of what she becomes, a true romantic.
Beane is thrilled to tell his sister, Joan, and her husband, Harry, about his budding romance.
Joan and Harry are another story. Joan is obsessed with work; the relatively pleasant Harry uses quips as one-upmanship to her insensitivity. Kelsey Leigh Miller explores new acting depth in her role as Joan. Miller’s pacing is perfect. Eli Alvey as Harry is quick with a retort and shows an inviting command of his character.
As Beane, Moody is a joy to watch; as he falls in love, he becomes animated and “verbose,” as his sister calls him. Every emotion comes across physically. He truly cares about the oddball he is playing. At first, we feel compassion for his loneliness, then joy. And then comes a plot twist that makes the visit to Byrum worthwhile. “Love Song,” written by John Kolvenbach, was first performed in Chicago in 2006. It asks soul-searching questions: what draws us into love, how far will we go in pursuit of romance and how can we truly experience life without deep relationships.