36 Hours, the new play by Amy E. Witting, is a tender, touching, and eloquent romantic drama. It's being presented by aWe Creative Group at FRIGID New York in a fine production directed by Bricken Sparacino that features Michael Birch and Kerry Fitzgibbons both giving outstanding performances. It's definitely one of the must-see shows of this year's festival.
The setting is a room in a hotel on the grounds of London's Heathrow Airport. Here, as the story begins, we find Patrick, a well-to-do Englishman who seems to feel older than he looks or actually is; he's lying on the bed, waiting for Annie to get out of the shower. Annie is much younger, an attractive New Yorker on the brink of hysteria that's barely suppressed.
Four years ago, Annie and Patrick spent 36 hours together and, although both had been tied to other loves, the connection was acute. Could they be soulmates? Witting helps us toward an understanding of their complex relationship, and the other aspects of their lives that have so far conspired to keep them apart, in this deftly, and concisely written one-act.
The script is authentic and mature; the characters are heartfelt and fully fleshed out. Patrick and Annie really seem to care about each other, and are able to act on their feelings rather than just talk about them. As portrayed by Birch and Fitzgibbons, they are richly human—flaws, scars, and all.
Sparacino brings the story to life with artful simplicity, and keeps us riveted as the relationship between the pair maneuvers through a variety of obstacles and uncertainties during their second, briefer time together. Witting eschews both cliché and easy answers as the story unravels, but provides a satisfying and convincing conclusion nonetheless.