Ends of the Earth, Lia Romeo’s latest play, is a beautiful metaphor about erosion, entropy, and decay. What began as a play about the environment grew into something much bigger than even “just” the most important theme of our generation. The central couple in the play reflects the decay of a world whose foundation we’ve destroyed. To fix a gaping schism that opens between them, they decide to have a baby instead of talking out the problem, which leads to the kind of “things may not be great and we’re not actually going to fix this, but we’ll plow forward together” strategy that leads to the demise of so many couples, countries, and (I’m sure) planets.
What seems like a fairly straightforward story about a couple dealing with relationship troubles is deepened by what’s lurking in the waning light of the world around them. Hungry eyes wait in the night – the hungry, yellow, canine eyes of an abused environment that’s looking for its pound of flesh. Nature becomes a character in the play – at times subtle, providing a catalyst for stressful situations that causes the fissure between the characters to grow, and at other times directly pouncing into the action and claiming a sacrifice.
The post-show conversation we enjoyed was fantastic. The audience was packed and it was a wonderful cross-section of 20-somethings through… older-than-that-somethings which made for a really interesting discussion, as we saw differences in how people viewed the play and the main couple – those with children and who were older seemed to view the play and its ending as hopeful, whereas those of us who are younger and sans kids felt a strong sense of dread and pessimism for the tiny family. There were also some interesting discussion surrounding some of the metaphors Lia wove through the work and about some of the other characters in the play – the young mother’s brother and the couple’s talking dog.
We’re huge fans of Lia’s, who began her career here at Writers Theatre and continues to develop her work with us, season after season. In fact, tomorrow I’m heading out to catch another play of Lia’s that’s been getting fantastic reviews in New York, Connected, currently playing at 59E59 and produced by Project Y. So if you want to check out an incredible night of theatre, go see Connected, and keep coming back to the Jersey City Theater Center, as we present the last two plays in that space in our New Jersey Women Playwrights Project this year. You can find more information on those plays and the NJWPP by clicking here.