A Place Without Seasons
nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
August 15, 2004
Set in any third world country in the Western hemisphere, Marco Ramirez’s play A Place Without Seasons tells an archetypical story of life and love in wartime that deepens in complexity as it unfolds. Teresa, a young pregnant woman, waits at home for her husband Ricardo to return from the battlefield. Her displaced father, Jito, and a young midwife, Alliette, are with her. Watching over this place is a General and his soldiers. One of the soldiers is Marcel, who loves Alliette, as she loves him.
Here there are no seasons but the season of war. People look for a break in the routine of "normal life" the way that people wait out a terrible storm, only in this case the storm is forever and the waiting never ends. Teresa prays for the return of her husband, but the General knows that if he appears it means he is a deserter who must be shot. The near-perfect pitch of the dialogue and encounters among the characters maintain a razor-edge tension. The playwright might consider tightening things a bit, as the play seems overly long, losing some of its edge in the middle.
Monica Perez-Brandes as Teresa wonderfully portrays the worried and pained young wife and mother-to-be. Her husband Ricardo, coiled, cat-like, and wary, is given full expression by Gerardo Gudino. Jito, sung, acted and danced by Alberto Morgan, stands out as the embodiment of despair and the welling of native blood. These three actors voice the rounded, musical cadences of romance language in both English and Spanish. The other actors—Alejandro H. Fumero (Marcel), Rebecca Delgado (Alliette), and Ben Schiff (General)—don’t use accents, and the sharp twang of their New York English was jarring to my ear. Other than that their performances are excellent.
A simple arrangement of ladders provides the perfect set, which director Alejandro Orozco makes excellent use of in creating the scenes. The haunting, emotionally charged music (uncredited) sets the tone throughout. Lighting designer Eric Southern has brilliantly lit the action—strong and minimal.
Ramirez, a very young playwright of 21, has written a beautiful piece of theatre—powerful, poetic, and timeless. From the opening music and magic between Jito and Teresa, to the final expression of primitive intensity, I was pulled into the atmosphere of place and story. If magical realism, the beauty of a finely orchestrated piece of theatre, and emotional fireworks excite you, this is definitely a play to see.