THEATER REVIEW:

After watching “Lovely Day” at the Luna Playhouse in Glendale, the word I must use to summarize the production is “un-fulfilling.”

There seems to be lots of potential that is never realized, leaving many questions unanswered. It's one of those instances where you want to have a deep discussion with someone about the elements of the performance you just saw, but there are too many things missing to reach any satisfying conclusion.

The fault here lies with the author, Leslie Ayvazian, who has set up a situation that's ripe for tension but only scratches the surface in how she explores it and the characters she has created to address it. Brian (Jonaton Wyne) is a designer and former army officer married to Fran (Lana Young), an artist who spends her days with a peace vigil group that prays for “global silence.”

On the evening of their anniversary, their teenage son Brian (Nickolas Ballard) comes home from school and casually mentions that a military recruiter visited their school and that he signed something but doesn't remember exactly what it was. The themes of pacifism colliding with combat eventually come front and center when Fran emotionally says, “Mothers can't send their children to war.”

She is the most interesting character because she has many layers, but even as they are peeled away there is still more you need to explore in order to understand her. She's obviously compulsive, as evidenced by her constant need to rearrange the furniture — which ultimately never ends up in the right place.

She describes herself as “always on the fringe of things” and admits that she wishes her artistic career were more successful, so there's a definite gaping hole in her self-esteem. It might be a paradox that Fran is the epitome of bottled-up rage who champions the concept of avoiding violence above all. Young does what she can to bring out the complexity of a woman whose husband describes her ideals as “naïve and useless” but she needs more to work with.

The same is true with Wyne. He exhibits a good deal of anger and frustration as a man married to a woman whose need to choose her words carefully is paramount, but he also is left trying to add dimension that the author doesn't provide.

I didn't feel as though I understood this couple because they talked about their life in ways that did not mesh with actions that followed. They are definitely not happy and this marriage would easily benefit from multiple therapy sessions.

As the son thrust into causing the disagreement between his parents, Ballard performs admirably but his character is more of a prop to create conflict in others rather than to introduce anything new.

Artistic Director Aramazd Stepanian knows how to evoke good performances from his actors, even with limited substance. The Luna Playhouse never settles for the ordinary and gets credit for stretching the boundaries of safe dramatic fare.


?PHILLIP HAIN is a Glendale resident who enjoys theater.

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