By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM — In she comes, out of the Alaskan snowstorm, high on sugar. Rosannah is a stranger in a white gown, about to collapse in Henry's cabin.
He's dumbfounded. But Henry comes quickly to Rosannah's aid, calming her and giving her warm clothes so she can rest.
Before long, Rosannah's vigor is restored, and we're in for some passionate exchanges between this woman, who turns out to be a runaway bride from Arizona, and Henry, a solitary man awakened from sleep.
So begins director Colby Thomas' introduction to “Brilliant Traces,” the play opening tonight at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave. The drama, which premiered in 1989 at New York City's Circle Repertory Company, takes the stage in Sequim for a three-week run, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 4.
“That first part, when we meet both characters, is so telling as to who they are,” added Thomas, who cast Amy Meyer as Rosannah and Eric Pozgay as Henry.
The “Brilliant Traces” story is of two people in a dance of repellence and seduction. But it's also about compassion. Both Rosannah and Henry have suffered traumatic losses, and both are refugees from “civilization,” hence their meeting at Henry's remote place in Alaska. There, with a blizzard howling outside the door, they reach through a storm of grief and bitter feelings. They reach toward each other, for solace.
“This isn't a straightforward narrative . . . It's interestingly told,” said Thomas.
The play by Cindy Lou Johnson captivated him at a Central Washington University performance some years ago. Its title comes from a line in the poem “Individuation” by Avah Pevlor Johnson.
“Let me dance with devils on dead stars / Let my scars leave brilliant traces,” Johnson writes.
In the play, Henry reveals his scars to Rosannah — but not the visible kind. He shows her places on his body where memories live.
When this woman and man cross paths, Thomas said, an observer can see how different — and similar — they are. He invites theater-goers to behold how these two help each other, and how, having gone through their struggles, they turn their hearts to the future.
Tickets to “Brilliant Traces” are $16 for adults, $10 for youth age 16 and younger, with a $2 discount for Olympic Theatre Arts members and active-duty military. Doors open, as does the playhouse beverage bar, an hour before show time.
For reservations and more details, see www.OlympicTheatreArts.org or phone the box office, open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, at 360-683-7326.