BRILLIANT TRACES, written by Cindy Lou Johnson, is certainly not a play that everyone knows. It got to the Players Club of Swarthmore in a very roundabout way. Actors Victoria Rose Bonito and Michael Parducci were seen acting in another venue. They were so dynamic together that PCS asked if they would be willing to act for them. The two suggested BRILLIANT TRACES. The fact that PCS had their actors before deciding on the play should tell you a lot about the professional quality you get from Bonito and Parducci.
Henry Harry (Parducci) is asleep in his Alaska cabin in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, he hears pounding on the door. Rosannah (Bonito) bursts in, shivering uncontrollably in a strapless wedding dress, veil, and slippers. She explains, through her ten-minute monologue, that her car broke down in the whiteout conditions outside. After she suddently faints, Henry carries her to his bed, where he washes her in a way-too-long fashion. When Rosannah wakes up, after sleeping for days, BRILLIANT TRACES really begins…for many reasons. Parducci finally speaks, for one. Both characters spend the play trying to find out about each other. The obvious question is why did Rosannah show up in the middle of nowhere in a wedding dress? However, the less obvious question is why does Henry live alone where he does?
The play wouldn’t work in a big theater…probably not even on PCS’ Main Stage. It is perfect for Second Stage, as it needs the small intimate setting. The audience should feel like a fly on the wall in the cabin. It is smart not to have an intermission as the intimacy of the atmosphere would be lost.
While the actual play isn’t for everyone, Bonito and Parducci are mesmerizing in every way. BRILLIANT TRACES is filled with monologues, some of them very abstract. One of Henry’s lines is “I just want to know what the hell we’re talking about.” Same here, Henry. However, your eyes can never seem to leave the stage. Witness Parducci talking about something as innocent as a doll shoe. Witness Bonito doing an entire monologue without seeming to take a breath. Witness both of them being able to show the heart-wrenching pain of their characters by crying on cue. The actors are brilliant, if not Johnson’s play.
by Cindy Lou Johnson
Directed by Susan Giddings
November 4-19, 2011
Players Club of Swarthmore (Second Stage)
614 Fairview Road
Swarthmore, PA 19081