Lea DeLaria and Jillian Crane
in Out of Iceland
(© Richard Termine)
Lea DeLaria and Jillian Crane
in Out of Iceland
(© Richard Termine)
Drew Larimore's Out of Iceland, now at Walkerspace under Josh Hecht's direction, opens promisingly with an animated Lea DeLaria dragging the set downstage amidst screens shaped as glacial pieces of ice. Miniature houses hang above to suggest the small town of Askja in the central highlands of Iceland where the play is set.

Caroline (Jillian Crane), a famous American travel writer whose research for a new book has taken her to this remote region, is lying on a couch with her head bandaged up. Hal (Michael Bakkensen), a native who tends to the volcano that dominates the area, rescued Caroline after she fell off it and took her to his cabin.

She's disoriented, defensive, and cautious of his motives. Why didn't he take her to a hospital? We learn there are no hospitals nearby in these parts. When Caroline incredulously challenges this statement, Hal replies, "the middle plays by diff'rent rules. You'll learn that soon enough. Americans always do."

In the next scene, we formally meet DeLaria's character, Thor Snaelsson, who hosts an Icelandic tourism infomercial that Caroline watches while resting at Hal's place. DeLaria often plays drag kings, so the casting isn't surprising -- nor is the fact that DeLaria is a delight.

The infomercial where Thor lays out "the three rules of Iceland" is hilarious and one of the highlights of the show. It ends with an ominous "see you soon - if perhaps sooner than you think!" Indeed, the next time we (and Caroline) see Thor, he has climbed out of the TV to speak directly to Caroline.

Larimore's writing is at its best in these slightly surreal and magical moments. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of them and the story sinks into a simple love story between Caroline and Hal (well played by Crane and Bakkensen) that climaxes in predictable fashion.

In the end, one wishes that the play would have delved more deeply into the "diff'rent rules" of central Iceland Hal talks about early on rather than the detour Larimore chose to take instead.