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Theatre Review (LA): Finding Fossils by Ty DeMartino

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The Road Theatre Company is presenting a pair of plays about family dysfunction. The first is The Water’s Edge by Theresa Rebeck, a searing family drama about loss, grief, and revenge that has classical overtones. The second play is Finding Fossils by Ty DeMartino, an award-winning playwright and produced screenwriter. This is a well-written play that explores the emotional relationship of a grumpy isolated man with his openly gregarious gay son. The two are drawn together after separation by the death of the woman in their lives. The play feels honest and doesn’t settle for easy solutions.

The excellent actors convey their ragged emotional journey with precision and detail. John Gowans plays Vincent, the emotionally distant father who has escaped to a lakeside cabin to lead the rest of his life in peace and quiet. In the course of the play we discover just how difficult his life has been as he witnessed his wife slowly dying. He can’t even bear to separate himself from her rented wheelchair.

He feels the arrival of his gay son Gus (Chet Grissom) as an intrusion. His son’s gayness isn’t the issue; rather it’s the fact that the two have little in common. In the course of the play their shared grief emerges but it is not enough to cement the two men into a new relationship.

Mark Costello is terrific as the neighbor who acts as a mediator between the father and son. He brings Gus to the realization that life doesn’t always turn out as we would like it to.

Suzanne Hunt directs this production, which is acted in a lovely manner. The set is by the remarkably talented Desma Murphy who, in the past, has created so many wonderful sets for the Road Company. Finding Fossils will play in rotating rep with The Water’s Edge at The Road Theatre Company until March 25.

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About Robert Machray

  • Renita Clemmens

    Saw this play last week and loved, loved, loved it! Beautiful work by all!