Performance for ‘Two Small Bodies’ merits larger audience |

Performance for ‘Two Small Bodies’ merits larger audience

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

It may have been the bad weather, or perhaps the billing as an adult play, but the audience for “Two Small Bodies” on Thursday night outnumbered the cast of two by only seven people. That’s too bad, because this is a searing, imaginative work acted by two skilled professionals and directed by another professional.

Catherine Cook and Peter L. Coates are the cast members and Karen Chandler the director. The three acquit themselves handsomely in this taut drama.

The story revolves around Cook’s two missing children and Coates’ efforts to discover what happened to them. As the play progresses, Coates becomes obsessed with Cook, while she at first seems to think of him as a dumb cop. But they slowly become enmeshed, each displaying their own weaknesses and strengths.

Cook is a drama teacher at Spanish Springs in Sparks; Coates a local contractor. No matter, both are professionals and give a constant thrust to the action. Cook, as a cocktail waitress in the play, is less than virginal; Coates’ character has had his affairs as well. But as the mesh tightens throughout the play, much of that seems to disappear as their relationship becomes almost intimate.

It isn’t giving away any plot secrets to report that the final scene has the two linked by handcuffs after wrestling with their emotions. Symbolism, perhaps, but effective.

Cook is an unafraid actress, obviously at ease in her bra and briefs at one point, when she does a takeoff on a stripper. And Coates shoulders his failures as a father and a cop with a phlegmatic stillness.

This is a fine production, done with little or no backing by any theater group. This is theater at its most natural when two people decide they want to do a play and they go ahead and do it. It takes confidence to be able to do so and the two, along with director Chandler, deserve your attention.

Yes, there is salty language involved, but no more so than the average R-rated film these days. And besides, it’s a lot more intelligent than most of what you hear at the cineplex.

— Contact Sam Bauman at or 881-1236.

If you go

WHAT: “Two Small Bodies” by Neal Bell

WHEN: 8 tonight

WHERE: Donald W. Reynolds Theatre, Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.

CALL: 883-1976

TICKETS: $10 for students, seniors and BAC members and $12 for general admission. Each show will also have student-rush tickets five minutes before curtain at $5. Call 885-1685.