Man in Snow begins and ends in tragedy. In between there is an insightful, sometimes banal, study of a middle-aged man, David (an awesomely complex Will Lyman), his bumpy relationship with his wise wife, Franny (Sandra Shipley, whose even-handed façade hides deep emotions), his daughter Emily (lovely, bright Ashley Risteen) who harbors grudges that pore out at the most unfortunate times and his beloved son Joey whose death in a car accident opens the play.
On Jenna McFarland Lord’s formal, set—white, except for visions of the Aurora Borealis appearing behind what looks like curtained window—the characters wander about the space defined by Niluka Hotaling’s lighting and David Reiffel’s subtle, but definitive sound environment.
After the death of his son, Joey (Francisco Solorzano who caught the ethereal nature of his character), David’s life becomes more freewheeling and adventurous, leading him to become a mountain guide for camera-carrying Japanese tourists visiting Alaska, a momentous decision that leads directly to the shocking denouement. The lightest moments in Man In Snow ironically deal with the young, Japanese honeymooners who want to conceive at the summit of the mountain.
David’s cousin, Connie (a steady, convincing Paul O’Brien), anchors the play, which tended to fly off in reverie, to reality. Ninety-year-old visitor Mr. Takayama (Ron Nakahara, simple and touching) has his own losses to resolve and has several revealing conversations with David.
By the end of the play, directed with a cool, but telling hand by Mr. Horovitz, the complexity and wisdom of the ill-fated characters resonate deeply.
Deepening all the emotion and mood changes was the classic music and an original score by Julia Kent.
Man in Snow (through November 27, 2016)
La Mama in association with Barefoot Theatre Company and Compagnia Horovitz-Paciotto
La Mama First Floor Theatre, 66 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 646-430-5375 or 866-811-4111 or visit http://www.lamama.org
Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission