, , , , , ,

Photo by Scott Suchman

Photo by Scott Suchman

Thanx to a good friend, I just saw 4000 Miles last night. Otherwise, I might have missed it entirely.

That would have been a shame.

Set in a Greenwich Village apartment in 2007, the play centers around two characters, widely separated by age. Vera (Tana Hicken) is in her 80s, lives alone,  and is struggling with the various losses that come with the final years of one’s life.

Leo (Grant Harrison) is 21, has just completed a cross-country bike trip, and is also struggling with a number of issues, many of which become more clear as the play progresses. Vera is Leo’s grandmother (step grandmother?).

As the play opens, Leo appears in the middle of the night with his bicycle and packs and needs a place to stay. What follows is largely what happens between these two characters as their stories unfold in some wonderful dialogue and exchanges.  Vera is lonely and seems a bit lost. And so too is Leo, tho in different ways.

Connected by family ties, but largely separated from other members of their family, they gradually reveal themselves to each other in words and interactions that are sometimes funny, sometimes angry but in words and actions that always seem real.

Hicken and Harrison are simply terrific in their roles, perhaps even a bit better than the very good parts they play.  Hicken is well known to the Washington theater community, especially for her long association with Arena Stage. Harrison is new to this area and fairly new to the stage itself.

The author of the play Amy Herzog is a young playwright who actually began her career acting. She is accumulating awards, and 4000 Miles won the 2012 Obie Award for Best New American Play.

Joy Zinoman (Director), one of the founders of The Studio Theatre, returns to direct this play. Zinoman directed many plays here before retiring a couple of years ago from her long held position as Founding Artistic Director.  And a lovely return it is.

Russell Metheny (Set Design) has once again created a setting that seems just perfect for Herzog’s play  He is also well known to the DC theater community and The Studio Theatre where for 35 years he has designed more than 50 productions (according to the program notes).

4000 Miles runs for approximately 90 minutes and is performed without an intermission. It has been extended through May 12.

See it if you can.