The New Haven Theater Company entices the viewer to witness a war, a war of words, in William Nicholson’s devastating drama “The Retreat From Moscow” playing weekends until November 9. While it has been centuries since Napoleon’s costly march to invade Moscow in 1812 and his resulting retreat, with a massive loss of soldiers’ lives due to starvation and gripping cold, it is still an ever present part of Edward’s psyche as he pursues his love of history. In suburban England at the turn of the century, Edward’s reading about the past helps him cope with his present existence.
Soon to celebrate thirty- three years with his wife Alice, he is consistently more interested in the long ago than in the immediate. Give him his daily crossword puzzles and his teaching classes and a cup of tea and Edward is content. George Kulp’s Edward has long ago forgotten the thrill of a honeymoon in India and the happiness he thought he once possessed. He is stoic in what life has presented him, or is he?
Susan Kulp’s Alice is, on the other hand, on a mission. She is questioning and demanding and suddenly wants to know what is happening to them and to their marriage. She is insistent that he answer her. Does Edward still love her? Her poking and probing gets her a response she doesn’t want or anticipate receiving and the result is terrifying. The audience gets to witness Alice’s unraveling and brilliant on stage disintegration. It is amazing in its intensity.
Despite the presence of their adult son Jamie, a caring Kiel Stango, Alice goes off the rails as she tries to undo the damage she has unleashed. Her constant criticism makes their marriage a casualty of war and no amount of her romantic recited poetry is going to fix what she perceives as his traitorous behavior. Margaret Mann and John Watson direct this intimate look into a union that God may never have blessed.
For tickets ($20), go online to nhtcboxoffice@gmailcom or www.NewHavenTheaterCompany.com. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the English Building Market, 839 Chapel Street, New Haven. Come early to browse the interesting array of vintage consignment shop offers.
What happens to a marriage when the husband wants “sunny” days and the wife is constantly putting up an umbrella, while the dutiful son plays the umpire weatherman?