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6.1.11

Wonderful Time

by Jonathan Marc Sherman

Wonderful Time is a boy-meets-girl-and-immediately-takes-her-to-his-best-friend's-wedding kind of story. Not, you'd think, the best way to begin a relationship. But what's nice about Sherman's tale is that this is a gradual coming together of two slightly wounded people - it's not gimmicky or trite. It's simple. And real.

When I read a play I look for many things. Not the least of which is a universality - to be able to find something within the play that rises above the action. One of Sherman's characters sums it up nicely:
The point is there are important messages in unexpected places, and it's our duty to search for them.
I think it's in all humans to question. To be curious about people and the world around us. I'm always searching for the next thing - be it an answer, a path, a question, a person..  and artists of all mediums seek truth and love.

Linus, the hero/underdog of the story loses his girlfriend at the top of the play, after he admits that he cheated. He is about to head to his best friend's wedding and doesn't want to go alone, so when he meets Betsy on the street, he invites her along. Would this happen in real life? Are people really that spontaneous? I'd like to think so. I probably wouldn't go, but that depends on the sort of day I was having, I suppose.

On the airplane, Betsy tries to explain why she decided to come with him. Her complaint is that people are too boring and that nobody does interesting things. She wanted to break that pattern.

In her, I see the playwright's desire to wake up his readers.. to encourage them to live life to the fullest. In this modern age of planning every thing down to the minute (something I'm pretty guilty of), watching two people fall in love through a whimsical journey across the country is refreshing.

Linus and Betsy begin as near strangers, and through witty banter and inherent chemistry come to find something special. Yet, the ending of the plays leaves us wondering if Linus is still searching for something more. This is not your typical happy ending. Earlier, to Betsy, he says:
You shouldn't have to say actions speak louder than words. You should act actions speak louder than words.
His words are saying one thing to her and his actions, something totally different. As he stares off into the ocean at the end, it left me thinking that our generation is crippled by endless choices. Our ability to see the future a million different ways makes it difficult to make decisions. The choice of who you spend your time with may just be the most important, and ultimately, the hardest. It's not like the old days when you knew the only single guy in town roughly your age would end up being your husband. Online dating and cosmopolitan cities have expanded the waters where the fish live..

Ideally, love is a simple thing. And when you kiss, you feel like a kid again. Butterflies, excitement, uncertainty.. a flood of emotion.. As Linus says:
No matter how many times I do that, I'll always feel like I'm twelve. Let's kiss for hours. Let's kiss till our lips hurt.
Tomorrow's Play: The Tragedy of Macbeth, Part II: The Seed of Banquo 

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