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‘Mirror’ shows complicated side of romance

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When two lovers look at each other, do they see their beloved or a some reflection of themselves?

That question and others are examined in two one-act plays about love by Arthur Miller, directed by Jessica Osbourne. The set is called, “Two Way Mirror,” and the first play is “Some Kind of Love Story,” and the second, “Elegy for a Lady.”

“We wanted a theme of love. These plays by Arthur Miller certainly are about odd loves. It is and it isn’t love,” Osbourne explains of the pre-Valentine’s Day production.

The plays, first produced in the mid-1980s, are described as semi-autobiographical about the award-winning playwright’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe, Osbourne says.

“In Some Kind of Love Story,” a detective obsesses about an unsolved case with a prostitute with whom he’s involved, believing she holds information that could solve the murder mystery. The prostitute, however, has multiple-personality disorder and when the detective pushes too hard, another personality emerges.

‘Two-Way Mirror: Two One-Acts by Arthur Miller’
WHEN: Albuquerque, tonight-Jan. 20, Santa Fe, Jan. 25-27. Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
WHERE: In Albuquerque at the Southwest Rural Theatre Project, 5800 Kathryn NE; in Santa Fe at Teatro Paraguas, 3205 Calle Marie
HOW MUCH: Adults $12, students and seniors $10, children younger than 12 $8. Reservations, Albuquerque, 717-4494; Santa Fe, 505-424-1601. For more information visit www.swrtp.org

In “Elegy for a Lady,” a wealthy man wanders into a boutique looking for a gift for his mistress, whom he believes may be dying. As he discusses his plight with the proprietress, he begins to project his relationship with his mistress onto her.

The challenge for Osbourne, who usually acts or does stand-up comedy, is to find the “balance, to find the light moments. These are incredibly intense dramas with many highs and lows. Even in intense tragedy, you find moments of humor.”

Actors Sheridan Kay Johnston and Graham Gentz play the lead characters in both plays.

“It’s a huge challenge for the actors. These are two very different love stories,” Osbourne says.

Gentz says the plays are about love. “The question is whether it is love or not, because like other Arthur Miller relationships, they aren’t really healthy ones.”

Johnston says she’s excited to play a woman with multiple personalities and doesn’t find it so much of a stretch to find those within herself.

“I think people access different parts of their personality depending on the situation they’re in,” she says.

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