“Reckless” asks, “Can you ever really know a person?”

Sunayana Jampanaboyana, Staff Writer

To open the Eldred Theater 2018-19 season, the Case Western Reserve University Department of Theater presented six performances of “Reckless” by Craig Lucas. “Reckless” is a hallmark of postmodern theater with underlying themes of loss and identity.

The bizarre chain of events in “Reckless” begins on an unassuming Christmas Eve. Rachel, played by third-year student Harper Case, is in the middle of a “euphoria attack” and is thinking about what her husband Tom, played by fourth-year student Matt Thompson, might have gotten her for Christmas this year.

She gets much more than you could ever wish for. In the midst of her “euphoria attack,” Rachel’s husband tells her that he hired a hitman to kill her and now regrets it. At her husband’s encouragement, Rachel runs away and happens upon complete stranger Lloyd Bophtelophti, played by fourth-year JP Peralta, at a gas station. Lloyd and his wife take Rachel into their home because nobody should be alone for Christmas.

Rachel lives day-to-day surrounded by therapy, embezzlement, murder, lies and an utterly nonsensical series of events. Rachel’s willful optimism continues to dwindle, revealing the brokenness of image and consistency in contemporary America while propagating the question, “can you ever really know a person?”

“We know what a person chooses to show us, no matter how close we are to them, but we can never know another person’s private thoughts and feelings,” said director David Vegh.

The themes of uncertainty and identity were supported by set, sound and lighting that helped build the mood. The stage was graced by a cast including Sara Young as the six doctors, Bradley Schneider as Roy, Evan Adeen as Pooty and Sarah Parr as Trish. The entire cast was enthusiastic about working with this production and embraced the nature of this piece.

(Editor’s Note: Both Sarah Parr and Bradley Schneider are part of The Observer staff.)

As the play progressed, many shifts brought new developments revealing something completely contrary to the audience’s initial perception of a character.

Bophtelophti appears to be a kind man, but each new event forces the audience to reconsider their image of him. Peralta described his character as someone who “at his core, is living in denial. He lives in this invented world where everything’s okay and everyone’s okay, when looming just under the surface are all these lies and issues.”

Case depicted Rachel as a convincing image of blind positivity.

“Rachel’s journey reflects very basic problems most people encounter, just at an incredibly heightened scale,” said Case.

“Some people think that the things you’re afraid to think about are the things which eventually destroy you. And that if you talk about them, as painful as that is, it helps them to go away,” said Case about the end of her character’s journey.  

Incredibly absurd, incoherent and a surreal portrayal of “modern” America, “Reckless” was a memorable opening production for the Eldred Theater 2018-19 season by the CWRU Department of Theater.

Future productions include “The Drowsy Chaperone”, “Private Eyes” and “As You Like It”. Showings of “The Drowsy Chaperone” by Bob Martin, Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison begin on Nov. 9. Tickets will be available for reservation in the box office located in Eldred Hall, over the phone or online.