‘Love In American Times’: Mental calisthenics at its best

Jack (J. Michael Flynn) is captivated by Scarlett's (Linda Park)

Picture billionaire Ted Turner mentally fencing with a bright,
beautiful, successful Asian woman who is half his age, set up by a
high-class dating service. The objective is to find someone who can
fulfill his idea of what his remaining life should be like
– at least the next five years.
Picture billionaire Ted Turner mentally fencing with a bright, beautiful, successful Asian woman who is half his age, set up by a high-class dating service. The objective is to find someone who can fulfill his idea of what his remaining life should be like – at least the next five years.

Jack Heller (a formidable J. Michael Flynn) and Scarlett Mori-Yang (skillful Linda Park) face off on a first date with the precision of a corporate take over. They observe one another’s mental capacity and aggressiveness like a couple of well trained cobras. They match one test after another until an agreement is reached to both of their satisfaction.

All this takes place in the bar of an upscale New York restaurant. The set by Robin Sanford Roberts is interesting and detailed as is his second act set on Jack’s yacht, where we meet his grown children and soon-to-be ex-wife.

Arwen Anderson plays Sonia, his drugged up, giddy, bi-polar, alcoholic – but likeable – daughter, and is a gem in delivery and timing. The second act is not as strong as the first but will keep the attention. Playwright Philip Kan Gotanada’s dialogue is sharp and clever and moves at an interesting pace. Rick Lombardo’s direction keeps the chaos controlled and unpredictable.

Linda Park (Scarlett), a former resident of San Jose, is best known as a TV series regular as Officer Hoshi Sato on “Star Trek Enterprise”. She is supported by a strong cast, offering some fine moments that tie this bit of theatre together.

For an evening of a well written, impulsive plot and some language that is not for children, “Love In American Times” will fit the bill.

***

“Love in American Times”

Where: San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose

Through: June 5

Details: $17.50-$79. Call (408) 367-7255 or visit www.sjrep.com.

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