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A CurtainUp Berkshire Review
Lost Lake

Well, you certainly didn't exaggerate. — Veronica (regarding the condition of the cottage.)
lost lake
Lynette R. Freeman and Quentin Mare
A late season entry is the Berkshire Theatre Group's Lost Lake, David Auburn's play about an unlikely friendship snuggles beautifully into the intimate Unicorn Theatre.

Veronica (Lynnette R. Freeman), an African-American widow with two children, needs a getaway for the summer. Strapped for cash she has had trouble finding something suitable for her family. Hogan (Quentin Mare) is a recognizable con artist, always feinting and shifting in order to conceal himself from others and yet obvious in his smarmy self-serving excuses and false promises. He has advertised the cabin on Craig's List and swears that by the time Veronica and the kids arrive the diving board platform will be repaired; there will be hot water; the phone will work and his personal belongings will be gone. Of course, nothing transpires by the time summer arrives.

Yet the play's slim plot is just a ploy to entangle the audience into the individual crisis which each character is struggling through and the drawing together of these disparate humans into an unlikely alliance. No romance, no real violence — just people groping through mutual needs for understanding and safety.

Freeman's voice says one thing, her body language telegraphs another. Watching her for ninety minutes as she grapples with Hogan's convoluted dissembling is stunning in its range of emotional honesty.

Mare's Hogan is a shabby, prickly fast talker. He asks invasive questions and then retreats into an affected ingratiation which hints at trouble for the future of Veronica's summer idyll.

This is not high drama, but its ambiguity and soft sell allow the two actors to explore the nature of human relationships. Though serious at times, there is plenty to laugh about as Mare's Hogan is incorrigible in his self-delusions and Freeman imbues Veronica with a no nonsense skepticism which rises to meet his every machination.

The unsentimental Veronica overcomes her initial distrust of Hogan's chaotic life and self pity to step out of her own, mistake-littered past. Together they reach an uneasy truce which transcends the isolation of their lives amidst the beauty of the lake.

Daisy Walker's direction focuses on her actors' interplay and moves the ninety minute production smoothly amidst the bucolic atmosphere of the scenic design by Randall Parson. The claustrophobic cabin with its memories of happier times now grown to rundown apathy of disrepair reinforces the portrait of the lost souls trying to find a way to reclaim their bearings and dignity. We are the flies on the wall and the director and actors control the script.

Patricia M. Nichols' lighting creates the reflections of life on the lake complemented by Scott Killian's summer sounds which round out the memories and feelings of lakeside vacations. Costumes by Hunter Kaczorowski limn the personalities and social standing of Veronica and Hogan's place and time.

This is a beautifully realized play, simply told and powerfully expressed by two gifted actors. It is satisfying in the inconclusive ending— like life, nothing pat, clear cut or false. Just everyday people, warts and all, coming to terms with their choices.

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Lost Lake by David Auburn
Directed by Daisy Walker
Cast: Lynnette R. Freeman (Veronica) Quentin Mare (Hogan)
Scene design: Randall Parsons
Costume design: Hunter Kaczorowski
Lighting design: Patricia M. Nichols
Sound design/Resident composer Scott Killian
Assistant sound designer: Christopher Peifer
Stage Manager: Corey S. Cavanaugh
Running Time: ninety minutes; no intermission
Berkshire Theatre Group, Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge, MA
From 9/28/17; closing 10/22/17
Reviewed by Gloria Miller at October 1 performanceA lat

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