Review: Fragile Things at Ooley Theatre

Showtimes: Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm. Through 3/16; $17-$20; The Ooley Theater, 2007 28th Street; (916) 214-6255.
Rated 3.0

E.M. Hodge’s new work, which premieres at the Ooley Theater under the direction of Liz Frederick, is a powerful, emotional piece about two broken people whose lives cross at a pivotal time for both of them, and how they affect each other. Hodge explains that the work came from her own struggles, and the struggles of friends dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and considering suicide.

While it takes a bit of time to figure out what is going on, from the first violent scene to flashbacks and then back to the opening scene, eventually with the help of actors Lindsay Eleveld (Josslyn) and Eric Craig (Tyler), the story of the former soldier suffering PTSD, his wife and their terrible relationship begins to unravel.

Tyler is a “cutter” who intends to make the final cut and end his life; Josslyn is a “fixer” determined to help him. The scene moves back and forth from a deserted cabin to a lonely bar, with the aid of a small revolving set (which can’t quite hide the technicians who turn it around). Three ghosts from the lives of each character make appearances to interject sometimes helpful, sometimes accusatory comments.

Tension mounts as Josslyn and Tyler move closer to the denouement, which is not predictable.