AN I FOR YOU, conceived and performed by Nancy Baines Castle, Leslie Bravman Jacobson and Susan Patz McInerney; scenery by Russell Methany; costumes by William Pucilowsky; lighting by Jacky English.
At New Playwrights' Theater through May 17.
The theme is couples. "We live in a world of couples," says one of the performers in "An I for a You," which opened Sunday at the new Playwrights' Theatre. And a fellow cast member asks: "Why spend a lifetime learning and developing this need for others, when -- let's face it -- we're all going to end up alone anyway?"
"An I for a You" is a production of the Pro Femina Theatre, clearly a group that believes in letting the audience know where it's coming from. Susan Patz McInerney, Nancy Baines Castle and Leslie Bravman Jacobson, Pro Femina's three three-named performers, have put together a series of scenes in the lives of a wife, her husband and her best friend -- with McInerney, Castle and Jacobson taking turns playing the parts.
The performance begins with a dream scene from a Gothic novel, one of those paperback rewrites of "Jane Eyre" about a pining governess, her cool employer and the neighborhood rake. Then it moves on to the real-life laments of the woman who has been reading the novel -- laments that involve, above all, her dependence on a husband who only occasionally strikes her as a worthy partner.
This is a work that was pieced together through improvisational exercises, and it has a sketchy structure to suit. But when plot is thrown to the winds, there is an extra burden to be sharp and energetic, and too much of "An I for a You" is neither.
Its sequence of spats and reconciliations are well-observed, but only once in a great while does a character say something truly startling in its recognizability, something like this husband's complaint to his wife: "I'm sick of listening to problems that you won't let me solve"
Perhaps "An I for a You" is still in a state of improvisational flux. A little flux certainly wouldn't hurt.