Wednesday, December 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

‘4000 Miles’ is a great ride

4000 miles1W

Dee Maaske and Teddy Spencer star in Capital Stage Production's "4,000 Miles." Kevin Adamski/Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | April 03, 2014 |

Check it out

What: “4000 Miles”

Where: Capital Stage, 2215 J St., Sacramento

When: Through April 13: 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $26-36 general, $24-$36 for seniors and students

Info: Visit www.capstage.org

Rating: For mature audiences

To put it simply, “4000 Miles” written by Amy Herzog and directed by Carolyn Howarth at Capital Stage is simply wonderful.

You will laugh, and cry, and enjoy the friendship that can deepen despite many decades in age difference.

This Obie Award Winning — and 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist — play tells the story of Leo (Teddy Spencer), a 20-something free-spirited fellow who has been on a “mission” (never clearly defined) with his friend to ride 4,000 miles from Seattle to New York. Something tragic happened on the road, which is not explained until a very poignant scene later in the play, and he finds himself discombobulated and needing to regroup. He shows up at his 91-year-old grandmother’s rent-controlled apartment at 3 a.m. one morning. (I fell in love with the set design by Jonathan Willams and Emi Mizuno.)

Grandma Vera (Dee Maaske) is not expecting her grandson and is embarrassed to answer the door without her teeth, holding her hand over her mouth and mumbling questions about what Leo is doing there. Once her dentures are in, the questions can begin in earnest.

Vera isn’t your average cookies and stories kind of grandma. She is an old Marxist who keeps Mao’s biography and the Kama Sutra next to the yellow pages by the telephone.

The conversation between the two snaps and crackles as they settle in with each other. The two actors proved they are able to handle anything that comes along when someone in the audience on opening night had a medical emergency. The play had to be stopped while waiting for 911 to come. Happily the patron was able to leave under his own steam and the play resumed, with barely a flicker, other than a gentle snicker from the audience when Leo repeats the line he had just said when the play was halted. We were all instantly back in Vera’s apartment again.

Vera is the kind of grandma we’d all like to have, one you can talk to about anything. “I’m glad to see you carry those, but I’m surprised they’re not opened,” she states matter-of-factly as he retrieves the condoms he left inside his backpack along with his laundry she washed while he was asleep.

After the show, someone greeted Maaske saying that her performance was “unbelievable.” I felt that comparing the frail old woman we had just seen on stage with the vibrant woman greeting her fans the proper description was “believable.” She has all the old woman aches and pains, rises from the couch with difficulty, walks bent over some of the time, and sighs as if the physical activities of life are sometimes just too much.

Yet her wit is sharp and she’s not above revealing surprising secrets during a session of pot smoking with her grandson.

As for Spencer, he was just perfect as the gawky barely-out-of-adolescence young man, uncomfortable in his very tall body, yet with strong values (he’s an eco-enthusiast and doesn’t have a cell phone).

The title of this play refers not only to the distance Leo has biked, but also to the emotional distance between himself and the rest of the world. He’s having trouble with his girlfriend Bec (Elizabeth Holzman, who gives a wonderful performance), has a complicated relationship with his mother (who is never seen), and an awkward relationship with his sister Lilly (Mayette Villanueva, whose voice is heard, somewhat garbled, as Leo has a Skype conversation with her).

He brings home Amanda (Sylvia Kwan) for some recreational hanky panky. Kwan is a pistol and though her part is small, she definitely makes an impression.

The closest relationship he has, Leo realizes is with this quirky grandmother, who herself has “outlived all her companions” and is finding joy in having someone to talk with again. When he finally unburdens himself about the problems with the bike ride, Lighting Designer Les Solomon has the pair in near darkness, as befits the atmosphere for such conversations.

When the end of the play comes, we don’t know what is going to happen to Leo, but we realize that he has been changed by the time he has spent with Vera. You simply must see this play. You won’t regret it.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Million Cat Challenge aims to rescue shelter felines

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Everest visit fulfills judge’s lifelong dream

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Supervisors remove Saylor from First 5 Yolo Commission

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

GPAS and test scores up for UCD’s newest undergrads

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A1

 
Fatal Capay crash leads to driver’s arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

U.S., Cuba seek to normalize relations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Water officials fret over rain’s effects

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Bob Dunning: Not enough hours in the month

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Beer and film tour boosts bike group’s coffers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery in full swing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Creative women share food, friendship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Have coffee with the mayor on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Stockings brighten holidays for special kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Evening tai chi classes start Jan. 6

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Overeaters get support at meetings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fibro Friends will update their journals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Input sought on county’s facility needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Name Droppers: Law prof earns peace prize for nonfiction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Community menorah lighting set Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Latest immunization data shows little improvement locally

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

School board will vote on repairs, new portables

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A6

 
Study: National monument could boost local economy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Parent/toddler art and music program offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Libraries will be closed around the holidays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Cloudy — yet safe — tap water adds to negative health effects

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Round up at the registers for Patwin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

.

Forum

This ought to teach her love

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Many thanks to The Avid Reader

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Language failed me that night, but not now

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A8

 
Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

Grand jury function clarified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Defying Western academic norms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Boycotters are our future profs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

UCD reveals a challenging softball schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tumey talks about state of Aggie athletics, where they’re headed

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets Rio Linda as Curry Invitational starts Thursday

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Former Aggie Descalso inks deal with Colorado

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
Westbrook, Durant lead Thunder past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

Some vegetables just can’t be beet

By Julie Cross | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6