The journey to self-discovery is both universal and individual. Literature is chock-full of stalwarts: Oedipus, Hamlet, Huck Finn, Madame Bovary, Charlie Brown, and let’s not forget, you and me — we all need to find our way, or fail.
And the journey itself? Well, that can be a funhouse ride, with jolts and surprises and turns of fate. And that’s only for starters.
Certainly the challenge of identity can stomp across all the turf in the modern proving grounds of high school, romance and family. Each person finds some way, and might have company along the road.
Playwright Miranda Rose Hall delves deeply into this primal arena in her new play, “Plot Points in Our Sexual Development,” at Lincoln Center Theater’s Claire Tow Theater.
In a graceful nod to the process, director Margot Bordelon stages the inner quest of the two characters as arising out of solitude, and then flowing into a reflective duet. Gradually, the characters come closer, at times uncomfortably close with one another, and as their attraction and passion escalates into a fundamental understanding, their journey is clear. There is no other way for them.
The markers of gender and sexuality are both shoals and signposts for the characters’ independent journeys, and the passage — treacherous enough for anyone — is all the tougher if there is no compass other than one’s own yearning to belong somehow.
The play is true to its title. And the actors carry the day. The characters describe some of their pivotal experiences on the path to right now, and the heart of the play is the challenge of self-discovery and self-acceptance. The nuance and enormity of the passage for these two characters is beautifully played.
The author wisely ensures that the curiosities and excitements of her characters are easy for us to identify with.
There’s a breezy, fresh honesty to these two orbiting souls.
The spare designs support the notion of solitude and universality. The acting is heartfelt and raw, and very effective.
Jax Jackson and Marianne Rendon commit to the roles of Theo and Cecily with a complete and disarming honesty.
We feel the anguish and the joy as the two characters search and struggle to find their way. They take a winding road, but one that connects us all. For no matter who we are and whom we love, it is the road we all must travel.