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Jamie Wollrab in Nocturne at VS. Theatre. (Photo by Kate Danson Photography.)

Jamie Wollrab in Nocturne at VS. Theatre. (Photo by Kate Danson Photography.)


Reviewed by Dana Martin
Triptych Theatre Company at VS. Theatre
Through August 13th

Adam Rapp’s Nocturne is a wandering examination of exceptional loss. A one-man show, it weaves its way through the flawed psyche of Son (Jamie Wollrab) who, as an adolescent, accidentally kills his sister and subsequently loses his relationship with both of his parents.

The play is heavy on prose, as if chapters from a novel are being dramatized. Plot details must be plucked from a turbulent sea of literary device. Time and place shift irreverently. The meandering prose vividly filters into the audience’s imagination — yet it’s still hard to determine what drives this man, what compels him to tell this story

Jamie Wollrab’s portrayal of Son feels uncertain. He navigates the massive amount of dialogue and emotional weight of the story well but hasn’t yet settled into the skin of the character. I left wondering who Son really was —  his quirks and compulsions, his habits. Regardless, Wollrab still crafts many exceptional moments. His best work comes in the scenes involving Son’s parents.

Co-directors James Eckhouse and Richard Schiff struggle to find a cohesive style. Justin Huen’s lighting design misses the mark entirely. Set designer David Mauer finds innovative ways to bring a large set to an intimate space, but ultimately crowds too much furniture onto the stage. Wollrab needs room to maneuver freely.

Still, Nocturne gets under your skin. It’s raw, it’s elusive, it’s messy and emotional. It reminds us that life is fleeting, life is fragile. Life is strange and painful and lonely and confusing. Life is beautiful.


Triptych Theatre Company at Vs. Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through August 13th. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.



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