“A Terminal Event” – NoHo Arts District
A NoHo Arts theater review from the Victory Theater Center production of “A Terminal Event”, written by Richard Willett, directed by Maria Gobetti and produced by Maria Gobetti and Gabriel Ormeny, until July 10.
The Victory Theater Center is back! “A Terminal Event” is their first live game as they happily reopened. The last two years have been difficult for small theatres, for any theatre, in fact. But the great folks at Victory spent time sprucing up their lovely little theater with new air conditioning and I’m guessing new seating? Not sure, but I was very comfortable as I was looking forward to the start of their new show.
I was not disappointed, but I am never with Maria Gobetti and Tom Ormeny at the head of the little theater that could.
“A Terminal Event” is a wonderful, very cleverly written piece about finding love in unexpected places with unexpected people. It’s about taking risks with our hearts even when the risks are high and the outcome is potentially bleak.
A budding actress takes a new job as a medical receptionist in an oncologist’s office, her career fallback. Many of the patients she sees are very sick. Cancer is treatable and survivable, but in some cases it is not, and that is especially serious for the two patients in this room who will not survive.
The first is a woman with bowel cancer. She’s sweet, shy, middle-aged and she postponed her visit to the doctor because she was afraid to find out how bad it was, which of course made it worse. The actress treats her with empathy and kindness and befriends quite unexpectedly. The second patient is the one who rejected Western medicine as a way to treat his colon cancer, visiting the office once a month to refill his painkiller prescription. It is with this man that she begins a relationship and falls deeply in love.
Their relationship unfolds beautifully on stage as they tiptoe in love under such heartbreaking and precarious circumstances. It talks about the purpose of a life and how vital it is to allow a life to exist authentically without preconceptions of how and why it takes us on the paths it takes. We’re all so busy trying to fulfill ourselves with work, relationships or whatever that we don’t see the life we have as a strength in itself. A gift over which we have little control in many ways. We need to recognize that we are often at the mercy of circumstances and if we let go we may find our true purpose more easily and it could be something totally unexpected and beautiful.
It’s a lot to take in, especially for the actress who asks the doctor why he can give hope when there is none. All of these disparate characters exist, collide and influence each other in so many ways. Not chaos, rather fate and the cause and effect of the universe. It’s a beautiful thought and it gives us all comfort in times like these when so much seems so shaky and scary.
The performances are magnificent. There is a lot of humor in this piece, even if the subject matter may seem heavy. But then we have to find joy in each other, even when life is at its darkest. And so the humor is perfectly placed, it’s very natural and deeply moving.
“A Terminal Event” runs through July 10 at the Victory Theater Center. After so much fear of the unknowable over the past two years, the arts and especially theater can be a place of solace and discovery and maybe even a little peace.
Cast and crew:
With Laura Coover, Marshall McCabe, Tom Ormeny and Randi Lynne Weidman.
Scenography by Evan Bartoletti
Accessories by Jodi Turner
Sam Salman Suits
Composer John Brained
Lighting design by Carol Doehring
Sound design by Chris Brown
Until July 10
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.
The Victory Theater Center
3326 Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505