Timely subject matter, timeless relationship dynamics, and dazzling performances combine to make “Lungs” the latest triumph in a series of impressive productions to grace the intimate stage at Sebastopol’s Main Stage West this season.
A world increasingly impacted by climate change and overpopulation seeds new worries and doubts for a young couple on the fence about having children. The unnamed pair (Sharia Pierce and Jared N. Wright, both phenomenal) struggle with guilt about their contribution to the carbon footprint and fear of an uncertain future for their offspring. Where does their responsibility to the planet – and each other – end? Though their decision and the aftermath serve as the story’s crux, it’s the ebb and flow of their relationship that really hits home. Global warming is just an ominous backdrop.
. . . a tour de force – visceral, raw, and utterly real.”
Pierce’s performance is a tour de force – visceral, raw, and utterly real. Wright feeds off of her intensity with equal authenticity, delivering nuanced and heartfelt reactions. The mounting tension, crushing heartbreak, and abiding affection between them is powerful and palpable. It’s a deeply personal and emotionally exhausting experience, rife with elements that will feel familiar to anyone who’s ever been in a tumultuous relationship or pondered what it means to be a parent.
David Lear directs with perfect pacing and thoughtful staging on a minimalistic set, with no props, a simple backdrop, and only some introductory audio for context, keeping the focus entirely on Pierce and Wright. Given the caliber of their acting, this works in the production’s favor.
“Lungs” is a beautiful journey full of philosophical quandaries, anxiety and indecision, human error, love, and loss. It’s hard to imagine Duncan Macmillan’s insightful script in better hands than those of this exceptionally talented cast.
ASR reviewer Nicole Singley is a voting member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Sonoma County’s Marquee Theater Journalists Association, and the American Theatre Critics Association.
|Written by||Duncan Macmillan|
|Directed by||David Lear|
|Producing Company||Main Stage West|
|Production Dates||Through May 26th|
|Production Address||Main Stage West
104 N Main St
Sebastopol, CA 95472
|Tickets||$15 – $30|
|Reviewer Score||Max in each category is 5/5|
|Aisle Seat Review PICK!||Yes!|