'Fool for Love': Falling Short

A tumultuous relationship sits before us in Sam Shepard's Fool for Love. From the outset, you don't know what's in store for May (Nina Arianda) and Eddie (Sam Rockwell), who seem to love each other at times, but want to wring each other's necks at other times. In many plays, this kind of tension and uncertainty can lead to a strong resolution. But this go-around, there's explosiveness without the substance to justify it or reconsider at a greater length.

The lead actors do their parts, and director Daniel Aukin jams as much as he can into the 75-minute play. The script is the main problem -- so many ups and downs, backs and forths, without a path forward.

Inside a sleazy motel room in the Mojave Desert, the stage is set with the heat turned way up. Intrigue and curiosity sits beside them on the stage, in the form of an old man, played by Gordon Joseph Weiss. He has several asides with the two lead characters. As more information and background details become available, the narrative is intended to lead to opinions changing and the focus moving. However, by the time these developments emerge, the audience will feel so restless they might no longer possess the capacity to change their feelings. A certain numbness sets in midway through the show once you accept that we'll never see the outside of this cramped hotel room.

Some of the themes of the play stand out as striking and controversial. However, at that point, unfortunately, you can't go back.