Tequila and spurs
Piotr Piotrowicz on the spectacle ‘Oszaleć z miłości’ (‘Fool for love’) staged by The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York

Tequila and spurs

At first, it looks like nothing special. Just a regular room in an American motel, somewhere at the end of the world, close to the border with Mexico. A bed, a TV set, a small table and three chairs. We see two doors – one is the exit and the other leads to the bathroom. There is also a window covered with a lacy curtain, as if it was a traditional Polish household. This is the scenery in which Sam Shepard set his bitter-sweet psychodrama meticulously brought to life by the New Yorker director Shaun Peknic. It’s also a very clear hint – do not expect any extravagance. I am going to stick to the strict and I won’t miss a word. I just want to do something very simple – to tell you a story.
But what story is this? Certainly low-key, written for just two actors – him and her, Eddie and May. A cowboy-stuntman and a woman who left him. Wait a moment – it was him who left her first and, what’s more, he has been cheating on her with some wealthy woman… But now he has tracked down the runaway and once again he is present in her life to win her back. We walk into their word in medias res. Matters get complicated, feelings become ambiguous. Hate interweaves with love. Furthermore, there is an old, majestic cowboy towering over the whole play, sitting silently in his armchair, wearing a washed shirt, a hat and leather shoes, sipping a strong drink from his Styrofoam cup. Later on, it turns out that he is essential to the understanding of this story. He is the ghost of the father, a creature from the past and the cause of all the confusion. He is someone both characters have to confront in order to exit the psychological clinch, even if just for a single moment.
There is also another character and this time it is truly the last one – Martin, a new man in May’s life. He is the one who, after listening the tragic history of Eddy and then May at the end of the drama, unconsciously helps them achieve the breakthrough.
Obviously, things are not as simple as they look at first. On one hand we have May, who has had enough of Eddy himself and his dreams of a house on the prairie, a horse and a vegetable garden and at the same time does not want him to eventually leave her as some kind of a masochistic tendency and Eddy who has been cheating on her and standing her up while being absurdly certain that he will convince her to go back to him. In the midst of this emotional struggle, we learn something completely unexpected. Our couple is something more than a pair of ex-lovers. In fact, they are siblings.
Stepsiblings, to be exact. The double life led by their father overshadows their romance which has been going on since high school. The romance, in turn, has an influence on their lives. A forbidden love at first sight, just like in a Greek tragedy.
‘Oszaleć z miłości’ performed by actors from Lee Strasberg Institute is actually more of a tragicomedy, a story of a struggle with an uneasy past and love told with emotional and naturalistic acting. Very often, this love hurts more than hate. I must admit that, despite my initial resistance, the New Yorkers succeeded to take me on this journey filled with tequila and – trust me –spurs mainly because of the touching final scene.