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Written by Cindy Lou Johnson

Directed by Becca Johnson-Spinos

A blizzard rages outside a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska. Suddenly the cabin's lone inhabitant, Henry, is awakened by the bizarre arrival of a stranger named Rosannah. Thrown together in the confines of this small snowbound cabin, Henry and Rosannah alternately repel and attract each other as they explore the pain of their wounded pasts and, in time, consider the possibilities of their present circumstances. A vivid and exciting theatrical experience.

" with common issues of love and family, and does so with characters, story, and dialogue so fantastic that they could exist only within the enchanted realm of the stage."
New York Times

June 19-21 at 7:30 p.m.
Theatre 11

Actors make BU's "Brilliant Traces" glow with warmth, sympathy

By Carl Hoover, Waco Tribune-Herald
June 19, 2008

For a play that celebrates the loves and foibles that make us human, it's only fitting that it's the human element that makes it work.

In Baylor Theatre's "Brilliant Traces," actors Daniel Hubbard and Adria McCauley carry the audience over the play's more implausible parts, holding its attention for much of two hours without an intermission.

While their characters are neurotically flawed in different ways, the actors nonetheless make them sympathetic, crucial for the warm, sweet way in which Cindy Lou Johnson winds up her piece.

The setup: Rosannah, a scattered, voluble bride (McCauley) in a wedding gown crashes into an Alaskan cabin inhabited by Henry, a taciturn, troubled man (Hubbard).

Both are fleeing something, it turns out, and the layers of their personal histories slowly get peeled away in the course of their interaction.

Interestingly, Henry doesn't say a word for the play's first 20 minutes, but his actions in that time frame an important aspect of his character that sets the tone for the play.

After Rosannah collapses on his cabin floor, exhausted from driving non-stop from a near-wedding in Arizona to Alaska, Henry puts her in his bed, removes her gown and bathes her limbs. Whoever he is, he's essentially kind - even if he ends up burning her satin wedding slippers (a key plot point).

Hubbard's eyes communicate a hurt and sadness whose source is revealed late in the play. Think Darcy in Alaska and you're not too far off.

McCauley's character, on the other hand, is harder to make real - driving non-stop to Alaska without knowing why, surviving a blizzard in a wedding gown, her conversation a patchwork of thoughts.

Still, she makes her audience willing to come along and see what makes Rosannah tick. Every time Rosannah and Henry draw physically close in the play, there's a charge in the air.

Director Becca Johnson makes good use of her surrounded space in the intimate Theatre 11, keeping the mystery and interest high in what could have bogged down into a two-hour talkfest.

The play's pacing is deliberate, but rarely drags. The one nagging, but minor problem on opening night was that the music cues and breaks were a bit loud, making the song lyrics used seem too overt or at odds tonally with the action onstage.

Sweet and humane in its outlook, if a little sentimental, "Brilliant Traces" offers an evening's worth of personality, seasoned with wit and warmth. The play continues at 7:30 tonight and Saturday at Baylor's Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Building. Tickets cost $10.