A Map of Virtue
Erin Courtney's ultimately frustrating one-act benefits from well-drawn characters and strong performances.
Thankfully, this statue can talk and is brought to life by the graceful Birgit Huppuch. Dressed in white, she glides through the scenes, observing as she's passed from one owner to the next.
Director Ken Rus Schmoll elicits strong performances not only from Huppuch, but the entire cast, but they are not enough to ground this ambitious but frustrating play. Courtney crafts some wonderfully tense moments and her characters have potential to be compelling, but she traps them in artifice that confounds more than it illuminates.
The statue's journey begins as the possession of a particularly cruel school master who has a penchant for bird decorations and molesting boys. One of his victims, Mark (Jon Norman Schneider) steals the statue, and it proves to have a profound impact on his life trajectory.
Fast forward many years and we discover Mark is drawn to a woman, Sarah (Maria Striar), whom he sees in a coffee shop - and who has two large bird tattoos on her chest. It's a platonic attraction, though, as Mark loves men, particularly his boyfriend, Victor (Hubert Point-Du Jour). This, however, doesn't stop Mark and Sarah from embarking on a strange adventure with Sarah's husband Nate (Alex Draper) from which Victor will have to rescue them.