Ann Lemons Pollack – St. Louis Eats and Drinks, December 7, 2015
Ken Page’s “Sublime Intimacies” opened this past weekend at the Kranzberg Black Box Theatre. It’s Max & Louie Productions’ first original show, described as a play with dance. Not about dance, understand you, but perhaps about loving the beauty that dance can epitomize, and definitely about the intimacies that love of all kinds can engender.
Intimacy is certainly not solely a sexual thing, as the play reminds us. The connections of the heart, of the soul, and of the intellect bind us in ways that may well outlast the sexual. Here, there’s a group of friends who love and lust their way through life. In time they’re sharing stories as they, to use the phrase of an old friend, peel off layers of their onion, or self, with each other, sometimes with tears, other times with exultation. There’s a familiarity to it, especially at first, when the setting is St. Louis in the Seventies. Later, familiarity leaves the geographic and settles into stories one can recognize from one’s own life or that of people we know, loves nearly won, missed connections, the drive for fulfillment.
All the actors play multiple characters. J. Samuel Davis is at his most winning, smiling and charming as Tim Pace, who narrates much of the story; in this small venue, he is almost seducing the audience as he tells the tales. A monologue of a romance at a movie studio years before from John Flack is near-wondrous. Dancer Alfredo Sullivan manages to be both fire and ice as he dances and walks wordlessly in his multiple personas.
Ken Page also directed the show, which proceeds at an elegant pace. Patrick Huber’s lighting plays a key part in the show, and so does the work of visual artist Marjorie Williamson.The music, both original music by Henry Palkes and work from the French composer Erik Satie, especially his “Gymnopedies”, was a delight. Choreographers were Kameron N. Saunders and David Marchant, with Alfredo Sullivan doing some improvisation.Dunsai Dai created the set.
It’s a show that leaves one thinking, and grateful for those close relationships it talks about. But perhaps the real message is that out of each of those relationships, we learn something about ourselves.