Someone in Florida Loves Me
Jane Pickett's drama about the reunion of two former best friends is both affecting and frustrating.
Flight attendant Nicole (Ana Perea) has initiated the reunion with former best friend Annie (Lisa Louttit), calling at the last minute to announce that she'll be in New York and will be staying overnight with Annie, who lives in a squalid Brooklyn boarding house (terrifically rendered by Adam Brustein). Annie's nervousness around Nicole is understandable initially as there's just a mattress on the floor and the heat is out of control.
But as Nicole breezily makes herself at home, hanging her things around the apartment, encroaching thoughtlessly on the space, we come to understand another reason for Annie's discomfort. Nicole is enervating and enlivening, delightfully vivacious and yet, subtly domineering at the same time. One understands why Nicole and Annie's relationship would slowly dissolve as time moves on. Yet, in this subtle (and sometimes trivial-seeming) play, where the drama generally sparks quietly, watching Annie and Nicole's time together is curiously compelling.
Under the guidance of Pickett (who also directs), Perea imbues Nicole with an easygoing forcefulness and a genuinely delightful sense of humor that instantly engages. And as the play progresses; she gracefully reveals the character's darker and more troubled side. Louttit, although less nuanced (partially because of Pickett's writing), turns in a heartfelt performance, and it's difficult to not root for Annie early on.
When the play stumbles, it's generally because of Pickett's attempts at creating tension between the two women -- and because of the environment in which the play unfolds. For instance, the menace of a man on the stoop in front of the building, who may or may not be the man with whom Annie shares a bathroom, feels unconvincingly forced. In the end, though, this unnamed character (played by T.M. Bergman), proves crucial to Annie's emotional development, and seeing her grow as a person proves to be satisfying for the audience.