Look After You

Very often, in order to find something expansive, the best approach is to make something very small. I don’t know anything about poetry, but I’m pretty sure this is the idea behind Haiku, that if you can express something within a very small structure, it can end up translating into something very meaningful for a lot of people.

Look After You is exactly that. A man is struggling with his book, a sister is working through her jobs and her dates… and at the center of the whole thing is a young woman, a photographer, who has fallen ill. Her short term memory is shot and, when she looks through the lense of her camera, it’s all fuzzy.

This fuzziness carries through the whole play. The book that he’s writing is not about the people who climb Mount Everest (there’s a mountain of information about these guys) but about the Sherpas who help them ascend. It turns out that 10% of the climbers who attempt the mountain die on their way, but the Sherpas go up and down the mountain a dozen times or more without any risk.

He’s searching for the answers through a lens as fuzzy as the woman’s camera. And always, at the root of the play, is the idea that we can’t be sure. Nothing is guaranteed. The woman’s short-term memory loss has led to her missing a couple of very important things, including the writer’s marriage proposal, and now everyone has to deal with this re-set. More than that, she could die. Just like the climbers, or the sherpas, or any of us. The chances may be higher for her, but that doesn’t actually *mean* anything, all of us still have this risk.

Designed as a full-length with no intermission, the show flies by. Louise Flory is on full exhibition here, both as a wickedly smart playwright and as a very generous actress. She’s the center of the play, the person everyone else is responding to and bouncing off of, and she does all she can to let each person run the play. In one of the opening scenes with her unbeknownst fiance, I was astonished at how much kindness she approached the characters. It’s so easy to be put upon, and he’s just glows in what could be a really introspective and downer role.

Another great standout is Lowell Byers, as the best friend and bartender. This guy is so utterly charming, so self-effacing and lovely, that it makes sense why every character opens up to him. It’s difficult to know how to reveal a story inside a play without having the characters say stuff like, “It’s just like that one time, when my father always loved my sister more than me…” but in this show, the best friend is such a sweetheart that he becomes a perfect person for everyone to reveal themselves to.

I can’t do this lovely play justice in the distracted moments I’ve stolen this morning. It is a wonderful companion piece to our play, at the same venue, in that it really focuses on the liminal state we exist in, between life and death, and the importance of embracing whatever moments we actually *have*. I would recommend this show without hesitation, I just know people who see it will like it as much as I did.