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The Colorado Catechism

Portrait artist Ty Wain (Daly) has been poured into an isolated rehab center in Colorado by his financial backers in a last-ditch effort to save their investment. Wain, whose good looks and amoral charm belies a mountainously fragile ego, finds himself pursued by two-time rehab loser, high school teacher Donna Sicard (Van Nostrand).

With:
Ty ... Tim Daly Donna ... Amy Van Nostrand Playwright Vincent J. Cardinal sets out to prove that two scarred, defeated refugees from life can find redemption through the gradual intermingling of their mutually dependent souls. His "Colorado Catechism," in its West Coast premiere, succeeds beautifully due to his truthful, sensitive script, the gently accurate guidance of director Remi Aubuchon, and the magnetically connected performances of Tim Daly and Amy Van Nostrand.

Portrait artist Ty Wain (Daly) has been poured into an isolated rehab center in Colorado by his financial backers in a last-ditch effort to save their investment. Wain, whose good looks and amoral charm belies a mountainously fragile ego, finds himself pursued by two-time rehab loser, high school teacher Donna Sicard (Van Nostrand).

She’s not seeking a lover, but an emotional life preserver. Donna’s dogged quest for sobriety is an end-of-the-line attempt to regain the only thing that has meaning in her life: The custody of her 6-year-old son.

Tale is told through the memory of Ty, who, three years after his stay at the rehab center, is desperately trying to capture the image of Donna on canvas. Moving back and forth in time, scenes in the history of Ty and Donna unfold, never pushing too quickly for a conclusion.

Cardinal’s grand accomplishment is in creating a solid flow that pushes Ty and Donna from their chemically induced childishness, through a co-dependent adolescence and into adulthood.

The only flaw in the text is Cardinal’s over-use of Ty’s monologues to the audience as a device for underlining the “message” of the story.

Director Aubuchon thoroughly understands the through line of Cardinal’s text, and makes wonderful use of the sparse Deborah Raymond and Dorian Vernacchio mini-Victorian house set.

Daly’s Ty is a walking mass of neuroses, all too eager to rely on his need to charm and con rather than trust his own talent and humanity.

His emergence as a connected human being is a credit to Daly’s ability to meld his Ty so believably to the quirky personality shifts of Van Nostrand’s Donna.

The actress conveys all the multilayered depths of Donna’s dependency with a controlled energy that is almost tangible in its intensity.

Joe Morrissey’s moody light and sound designs, as well as Durinda Wood’s shabbily correct costumes, set off the production without distracting from the action.

The Colorado Catechism

(Coast Playhouse, West Hollywood; 99 seats; $ 20 top)

Production: Wandering Bark Prods. in association with Margalo Prods. presents a play in one act by Vincent J. Cardinal; producer, Stephen Burleigh; director, Remi Aubuchon.

Creative: Set design, Deborah Raymond, Dorian Vernacchio; lighting, sound design , Joe Morrissey; costumes, Durinda Wood. Opened Feb. 5, 1993; reviewed Feb. 6; runs through March 7.

Cast: Ty ... Tim Daly Donna ... Amy Van Nostrand Playwright Vincent J. Cardinal sets out to prove that two scarred, defeated refugees from life can find redemption through the gradual intermingling of their mutually dependent souls. His "Colorado Catechism," in its West Coast premiere, succeeds beautifully due to his truthful, sensitive script, the gently accurate guidance of director Remi Aubuchon, and the magnetically connected performances of Tim Daly and Amy Van Nostrand.

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