by Kristen Zaza
(photo by Vincenzo Pietropaolo)
In case the title doesn’t ring a bell, it’s named after a game: “Do you know how to play 52 Pick-up?”, someone asks. The other person answers no, has a deck of cards thrown in their face and consequently has to pick them up. Thinking about “play”, I’m reminded of something I once read that explained how an integral feature of games – card games, video games, board games, playing pretend, anything – is the concept of Randomness. Adapting and reacting to random occurrences.
Before I get too caught up on the 'game' of the show (which, I have to admit, is an extremely exciting challenge!), I have to mention that the writing is brilliant. As I mentioned earlier, the couple at the heart of the play is made up of two characters who are fascinating and complex both together and independently from one another. Their relationship is both a marriage and a clash of two personalities. The characters are both products of their generation, yet they are at odds with it. There is a brilliant unease that Dawe and Bozi establish so naturally in the piece. “I think I relate most to how being in an intimate relationship has the potential to change you,” Paolo says. “There are moments in the play where the characters act totally outside of their comfort zone, where they compromise the things they may normally hold dear for a moment. ... Navigating that tension, and trying to be a better person, a better partner, and the reality of not being able to do it sometimes is both the scariest and one of the most beautiful parts of the relationship in the play for me.”