‘4,000 Miles’ Powers a Tour de Force at Aurora Theatre
Ride as fast as you can to see Amy Herzog’s play “4,000 Miles” at Aurora Theatre’s black box theater. Everything is a surprise in this production, starting with the moment you walk in the theater. Either direction you go, there’s just a black curtain and four rows of seats. Once the curtain drops, we see 21-year-old Leo (Barrett Doyle) banging on the door and Vera (Mary Lynn Owen) shuffling across her New York apartment. Unexpected, Leo has dropped in on Vera, his grandmother he hasn’t seen in years, after completing a bike ride from Washington state to NYC.
While in the city, Leo reconnects with his old girlfriend, Bec (Kelly Criss), and discusses the times they used to spend together and the accident on his bike trip. The scenes of the play unfold chronologically, but the characters’ lives are revealed in pieces, seeming as if the playwright wrote the play, cut out the back-stories, threw them in a hat, jumbled them up and then placed them throughout the play. It works beautifully, like a masterpiece musical composition that ebbs, flows and crescendos into a complete cohesive story. Herzog’s characters are likable, and Aurora has done a fine job of casting the actors.
Owen is outstanding as the grandmother. So real is her performance and her physical movements, as she even takes a moment to stop before going up steps. Amanda (Shelli Delgado) is a delight as Leo’s near one-night stand.
“4,000 Miles” ran off Broadway in 2001 and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play won the 2012 Obie Award for Best New American Play, and was named Time Magazine’s #1 Play or Musical of 2012.By far, this is the best show I’ve seen at Aurora.
Directed by Alexander Greenfield, featuring Maya Naff as Lily, “4,000 Miles” runs through March 1 at Aurora Theatre.
PLEASE NOTE: THE ABOVE VIDEO IS NOT FROM THE AURORA PRODUCTION, BUT IT’S A GREAT GLIMPSE OF THE PLAY.