The Flu Season
by Willard Manus
In his new play, Will Eno deconstructs not only love but theatre itself in THE FLU SEASON, now playing in a Circle X production at Inside the Ford. As directed by Jonathan Westerberg, THE FLU SEASON takes place in a hospital where two patients, identified only as Man (Tim Wright) and Woman (Jamey Hood), are undergoing psychiatric treatment for mysterious ailments. Eno only hints at their problems and gives them elliptical, punning dialogue to speak as they slowly fall in love. Overseeing them are a slightly goofy Doctor (David Fruechting) and Nurse (Christina Mastin), who simultaneously embark on a love affair of their own.
Commenting on the action, which unfolds in a bleak, wintry setting (designed by Todd Sible), are not one but two kibitzers, Prologue (Michael McColl) and Epilogue (Christopher Goodson). With their sharp, irreverent digs at the characters and at the play itself, they distance the audience from the action in Brechtian fashion and also provide a few laughs.
Since Eno is an ultra-modernist who favors indirection, sub-text and abstraction, his play unfolds in a cool, deadpan way: not until the second act is there anything resembling a spirited confrontation between the Man and Woman. You view the action as if under glass, sensing the pain of these people, but not feeling it deeply. It doesn't help either that the two kibitzers keep reminding you that the playwright doesn't know what he's doing and that his story is just a contrivance, a trick which like life (and theatre) itself cannot be controlled. The message? "Just live with it." Ford Ampitheater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. Call 323-461-3673 or visit fordtheatres.org or circlextheatre.org