by Lynn on September 16, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the Stratford Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Rd., RR#5, Stratford, Ont. Produced by Here for Now Theatre. Plays until Sat. Sept. 16, 2023.

Note: Sometimes I Love You Always is a late addition to the Here for Now Theatre season. It plays for only three performances: Sept. 14, 15, 16.  Worth the trip to see it.

Written and directed by Booth Savage.

Cast: Booth Savage

Janet-Laine Green

A bitter-sweet love-letter about getting old, remaining feisty and unpredictable in spite of aches, pains and hearing aids, with a keen appreciation of Steven Seagal movies.

The Story. She is a senior citizen named Mary-Louise. He is also a senior citizen named George. They met on the internet. His grandson is in some kind of trouble in another country and needs money to get out of the jam. George daren’t go to his daughter for help. So, he comes to Mary-Louise for the loan of the money. Did I mention they met on the internet?

George arrives one dark and stormy night at Mary-Louise’s house for the money, after his car hits some kind of glitch in the road. When George appears at Mary-Louise’s door he is sopping wet.  She’s alone. Her husband Kirkland is not there. She begins to take off George’s wet clothes except the undies, to dry the clothes. She gives George some of Kirkland’s clothes and a pair of his new socks. Kirkland loves new socks.

George wants the money so he can leave. Mary-Louise seems to flirt and toy with him. She talks about her son who worries that she is losing her faculties or at least her memory. She brings a large bag presumably with the money in it. And she gives him a muffin. Is this a cat and mouse game? Who is chasing whom? Things are not what they seem? This is good.   

The Production and Comment. The set is simple: two comfortable chairs with a table just up with a flower in a vase. Neat, simple. A man in a plush, blue bathrobe wanders around the tent while the audience files in. This is Booth Savage. When they are about to begin he goes to the far end of the tent and waits for Janet-Laine Green to enter—she is petite and spry in jeans and a work-shirt. She banters. Their characters have not really been introduced to us yet—part of the mystery of the piece.

She wants to tell him of a quote she heard from Clint Eastwood. They flip quips quickly (don’t say that fast) as if they are a comedy duo who know the routine really well, or are long married, which Booth Savage and Janet-Laine Green have been, to each other. Just when the one-liners zip through the air at a furious pace, he pauses and says, “You’re gorgeous.” It’s honest, true and heartfelt. It makes one gasp in surprise and delight. It’s not clear yet who these two ‘characters’ are but somehow it seems they know each other well.

At a point he takes off the robe and puts on a jacket and a cowboy hat to make his ‘entrance’. She looks as if she is spying on him as he stands outside while she checks him out through the window inside. She is disappointed that he looks so old. She sees that his car hit a bump in the road and the car will need towing. Her house is far from ‘civilization.’

She lets him in the house. They have arranged this meeting. The conversation is polite from him—his name is George. He knows she is Mary-Louise. They banter. She is direct and perhaps a bit flirty. He is quietly charming. He is also wet from the rain. She helps him out of his wet clothes and expertly unzips his pants—she seems to have practice here. He appears startled and ‘shy’. She’s in control. He has come for ‘the loan.’ What is going on?

We ask these questions as the power shifts between the two of them. Are they role playing? Is he really her husband Kirkland and they are playing a game? Is George really a fellow senior with family problems and has innocently come to her for a loan. Is she too trusting when she brings a huge paper bag that seems to be bulging with stuff and we assume money? Or is she really the power here and will haul out an Uzi if he gets shifty?

One of the beauties of this quirky play, is that we are not sure. Another beauty is that it is funny and heartfelt in equal measure. Booth Savage has written a bitter-sweet love letter about getting old, getting creaky, needing a hearing aid, losing one’s memory or worse, being alone, without family or friends, finding life is slipping away but there is still the drive to hold on as best as one can to what one still has. Janet-Laine Green is that fragile and feisty presence who is both in control and terrified of losing it. Her look of terror when the memory might be fading hits to the heart. And just as important, Sometimes I Love You Always is a love letter between two actors who know, respect and love each other really well.

Here for Now Theatre Presents:

Plays until today, Sept. 16, 2023—they only played three performanes.

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes (no intermission)

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