Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 3, 2017

Lost Lake

Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, MA
through October 22, 2017
by Barbara Stroup

Photo by Emma Rothenberg-Ware
Renting a lakeside cabin for a week should be a simple transaction, but for the two characters in “Lost Lake,” it becomes a learning experience. Their lives start intersecting when city-based Veronica, making summer plans for her kids, inspects Hogan’s lakeside cabin. She sees that he is an overeager advice-giver in a near-subsistence existence. Unimpressed, she rents it anyway. Over the course of her week’s stay and a visit six months later, these two reveal their back stories to each other.

David Auburn’s two-character play is never wordy; it is serious when it needs to be with interjections of humor just when they are needed. Quentin Maré brings the perfect voice and physicality to the part of Hogan – it seems to have been written for him. His gradual self-revelations allow the audience to grow into a relationship with the character, to appreciate his torments and see his vulnerabilities. Maré’s timing is exquisite.

Lynnette R. Freeman’s Veronica is less volatile but still finds herself suppressing frustration with Hogan – the audience learns that she has her own set of problems. Hogan’s presence both unsettles and saves her. Honesty between them is the result of these struggles, and admiration from the audience as well.

The clever set design has three entrance doors and ample space; the characters’ movements seem appropriate and not excessive. The backdrop shows a dreamy lake view where the audience can imagine the dock Hogan promises to repair and Veronica’s children splashing in the water. Time and seasonal changes are signaled clearly but unobtrusively by the writer and the director.

This play is a quiet triumph of character writing and narrative and a fitting finale to the season. Next year, Berkshire Theatre Festival celebrates 90 years of bringing live theatre to Stockbridge residents and visitors; one looks forward eagerly to plays of this quality in 2018.