Two women are training to run for the famed New York City foot race, and as they jog we get some insight into their characters. Maria (Chiara Cimmino) is a reluctant hypochondriac who hates necks and has a habit of unintentionally stealing her friend’s boyfriends. Steph (Kimberly DiPersia), the more driven of the pair, is on a mission to “make life pay for fucking [her] up the ass,” which pushes her to push through the pain of her protesting spleen.
The big twist is that the twosome are running in place nearly nonstop for the bulk of the show's running time, which makes my knees throb just to think about. Woven into the pair’s petty griping and dorm-room musings about God’s existence is the story of the fatal first Marathon run in Ancient Greece, which becomes a masochistic metaphor for self-imposed suffering and overcoming your ego.
There’s a hypnotic poetry to the script (which was translated into English by Francesca LoDico), and director Valerio Vittorio Garaffa coaxes some gentle laughs out of the gloomy situation. However, there’s little dramatic tension or plot advancement until just before the confounding Jacob’s Ladder-like ending, and while I greatly appreciated and admired this as an impressively committed feat of physical acting, for some reason it didn’t quite click for me on an emotional level.
The dominant feeling I exited with was sheer exhaustion and sympathetic suffering for the cast’s poor ankles and arches, but I’m certain it will resonate with anyone who knows the agony and ecstasy of long-distance running.
Teatro del Disìo
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