Rating: (3 out of 5) Monday, 10/19/2009, 5:00 PM Feature presentation, $0 at Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts
DANNY IS THE kid we can all recognize from the bottom rung of the high-school hierarchy. Artistic. Not athletic. Romantic enough to believe that love at first sight can absolutely happen. Outcast enough to be pretty sure it never will.
But the Danny we first meet in David Oliveras’ Watercolors is no longer that skinny young kid. He’s a grown man at the opening of the first New York exhibition of his paintings. A grown man still haunted by the memories of his first love, memories that risk completely alienating the real, live partner who has grown tired of trying to compete with a ghost.
That first love is Carter, a closeted high school athlete who is unceremoniously dropped into Danny’s life. To call Carter Danny’s opposite is to say the very least. Where Danny is thoughtful, Carter is impulsive. Where Danny is sensitive, Carter is reckless.
Where Danny has fallen in love, Carter rejects the idea with every fiber of his being.
Danny is brought to life by Tye Olson. It’s a strong performance that not only showcases the young actor’s talent but the undeniable chemistry he shares with actor Kyle Clare, who plays Carter. The dynamic between the two men allows audience members to suspend some disbelief about the unlikely relationship we watch grow between this quiet high school artist and rebellious high school athlete.
And that thread of disbelief is the aspect of Watercolors with which some will struggle. There are times when what we are asked to accept seems too perfect, too exacting, too expected. Love is either present or utterly absent. Events are either soft-focus daydream or rock-hard reality. There are no gray areas in this film. There is no middle ground.
But that’s when we must remember that much of what we are watching is being told to us through memories. Ghosts. The same phantoms we all deal with when remembering that first kiss. That first love. Memories with the same loose edges as a watercolor painting.
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