Deranged Duo Gets Deconstructionist in 'Brilliant Traces' at Lounge 2

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Tessa Ferrer and Andy Wagner in 'Brilliant Traces' (photo by Tommy Burruss).

Cindy Lou Johnson's elusive psychological thriller Brilliant Traces is playing at Lounge 2. The work depicts a bizarre chance meeting between a disturbed runaway bride and a detached hermit in the nether parts of the Alaskan wilderness during a white-out blizzard. Amid the eerie stillness, the duo Rosannah and Henry struggle with an intangible meta-reality in a desperate situation punctuated by subtle sexual tension. This atmospheric production of Brilliant Traces features extraordinary actors, expressive direction, and gripping dialog reminiscent of a hectic night shift at a psychiatric facility.

The cast of Brilliant Traces is excellent, fostering bleak tension and unpredictability through precisely honed dramatic constructs. Tessa Ferrer is phenomenal as Rosannah. She is uninhibited, electrifying and powerful as she navigates the strange peaks of her character's mind. Ferrer's mind-blowing, affecting and memorable performance left this reviewer breathless. Andy Wagner plays the slightly sane, but functional Henry—the straight man of a deranged duo. He is both engrossing and engaging as he pits himself against Ferrer, matching wits and skill, to slowly transition Henry through a bout of suppressed torment and fragility.

John Hindman's direction harnesses the drive and spirit of Brilliant Traces, moving energy about the stage, building momentum with each key turn of the plot. Lighting by Elizabeth Godley and Set design by Zachary B. Guiler are effective and supportive without being distracting. Johnson's script tangles the simple with the philosophically abstract. The script is skillfully crafted to pull audiences into a suspenseful enactment of a Derridian deconstructionist contradiction. Yes, that is as hard to do as it sounds. And yes, this production of Brilliant Traces has succeeded beautifully in doing so.

Brilliant Traces is playing at Lounge Theatre 2 through March 11. Tickets are $20 to $25 and available online.