“The Impossibility of Now” presented by Thalia’s Umbrella

What do you do when your husband develops amnesia? His memory is totally gone, and he really needs you, really, really needs you though he doesn’t know you or anything else about his past. And what if he hasn’t thrilled you for some time, not nearly as much as your new lover does? If you are a decent person, you take care of him, and so, this play opens as Miranda guides her empty-minded husband, Carl, home after his extended hospital stay.

Director Daniel Wilson wisely let’s its subtleties seep out; no great burst, just a gentle buildup, moment by moment. This is a production in which the acting is first rate. Terry Edward Moore captures Carl, the man without a past, from the moment he shuffles onto the stage and into his home. He’s vacant. There’s no there there. And Miranda, well played by Betsy Schwartz, is the wife who, as she leads him into their apartment, begins to understand just what she is up against.

“Why did I want to live here?” he asks. “I am erased.” She tells him she’s trying to put him back. Moore makes his character so believably impaired, with his halting speech and incessant questions.

The mere idea of losing one’s mind is such a horrifying thought that seeing its consequences played out before you could be truly disturbing, but it’s not. Moore’s skilled acting makes it fascinating. Poor man! But how can Miranda stand it, cope with it?

There’s nothing like a lover to make life’s tribulations just a little easier to deal with, and Miranda has a lover, a dentist (Joshua Carter) she’s been seeing for some time. He too is married, but, as lovers do, they have something really good going on. You’ll never again think of a dental chair in quite the way you used to!

Betsy Schwartz plays Miranda with just the right combination of sympathy and eroticism. She’s stuck with this brain-damaged man, realizes that she owes him compassion and affection, yet her thoughts are elsewhere. Caught between past and future, she finds it difficult to live in the now.

Meanwhile Carl perseveres in his limbo, and even manages to find some happiness in his “now.” After all, “now” is all he has. Yet for Miranda there’s more to life. There’s that dentist’s chair and the generosity of her lover.

Bumbling humans! Trying to make life work for them. Both Carl and Miranda were or are writers. Will the written word offer salvation? This well acted production will leave you with much to think about.

Through March 31 at 12th Ave. Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle, tickets: https://theimpossibilityof now.brownpapertickets.com/

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