nytheatre.com review by Maggie Cino
June 3, 2011
Choreographer Anna has a sleepwalking problem. She wakes to find herself in odd predicaments; dropping soap from a hotel balcony, say, or wrapping her hands around her boyfriend’s throat. New bedrooms are especially troublesome. So when she dumps her fiancé and scores an apartment downstairs from a seemingly friendly tech-geek named Patrick, things take a turn for the intense.
“I’ve spent some time in a sleep lab,” Anna confesses to Patrick after he comes down one morning to find her front window mysteriously shattered. But it turns out Patrick has been obsessed with Anna for a long time. He works in the lab and was on duty the night she was being observed.
“Who is Patrick?” is the ostensible mystery of this two-actor thriller, but plot contrivances often puncture the suspense they’re working to create. Patrick wants Anna, but after a few pages of getting-to-know-you dialogue they fall easily into each other’s arms. “One of you will die, and one of you will die inside,” incants their neighbor, the penny psychic. But Patrick’s obtuse intentions turn the moment of truth from a foreboding, unavoidable horror into an unfortunate accident perpetuated by an unhinged girl.
Director Ron Jenkins uses simple staging to ground the action. The gothic opening image resonates: a woman in white sleeping on a curtain wreathed bed. The only other set piece is a staircase rolled around in dream-like circles transforming one scene to another. Medina Hahn is seriously sincere as Anna and Daniel Arnold plays his roles with confident relish.
Often mentioned is the new dance Anna is working on at her studio. She wants it to reflect her nightmares, broken and confusing and wrong; we ultimately come to realize that Anna’s life is her performance piece. But the performance piece we’re watching shares this trait with real life—things don’t always add up in the most powerful way. As the title reminds us, it is just “any night”, after all.