Author Michael Healy, director Nehat Memeti.
This character- driven play derives its interest from the apparent simplicity that defines the relationship of Angus (Musa Isufi) and Morgan (Mendim Murtezi), World War II veterans who have been friends since childhood and are now companions in their seventies. Do we expect a little turbulence to stir up the simplicity? You bet. Are there any surprises? Not really.
Morgan has been devotedly looking after his buddy, the seriously dependent Angus ever since an accident to his head has rendered him memory challenged. The change in their daily mundane and repetitious routine occurs when Miles (Osman Ameti) a young actor, who is gathering research for a project about farm life for a local theater group, comes to live with them for a spell. Miles’ research, that will include learning to drive a tractor (on first try into Morgan), milking cows, baling hay, gathering eggs, rotating crops (something the bucolic movie version will undoubtedly expand upon, but we mercifully don’t have to see), he stirs up a heretofore comfortable, uncomplicated domestic situation, as well as provoking a long-held secret to be revealed.
There are the obvious clues and indications from the outset in the gentle but also volatile Angus’ behavior that, despite his ritualistic doing of his chores (baking and burning bread and making sandwiches) suggest that all is not right in his head. Angus’ condition resulting from the long ago injury provides a few opportunities for laughter. A savant math whiz, Angus cannot, however, remember whether jobs have been started or completed. He is, however, good and consistent about at counting the stars at night.
Despite his scant knowledge of or interest in farm life and chores, the urban Miles is committed to the daily tasks and particularly listening hard to the oft-repeated after dinner story told by Morgan to Angus every night under the stars. Never changing a word, Morgan tells of the loss of their loves, two English women – "one tall, and one taller" – who had accompanied them back to their farm after the war with intentions of marriage, but were tragically killed in a car accident. Morgan has maintained that their bodies are buried on the "highest point in the county."
Mahoney is excellent as the protective Morgan whose patience is tried but never in question. To no one’s surprise, the real story that Morgan is finally compelled to tell is quite different. But far be it from me to disclose the truth that has to do with an act of domestic violence.
For Miles, who has carefully noted the conversations and observed the two men and the way they have managed to eke out a living, his everyday experiences provide the substance for his play. However, after Miles takes Morgan and Angus to a rehearsal of the farm play, their world is undone and unsettled. Morgan feels betrayed, his privacy violated. Conversely, as a result of seeing Morgan and himself portrayed on a stage by Miles, Angus has a mental breakthrough which we are hard pressed to find credible. He begins to have glimmerings of his past and starts to demand answers to his questions from Morgan. He gives a poignant account of a childlike hulk of a man whose basic gentleness gives way to occasional fits.
Miles a sensitivity that braces the character’s somewhat self-serving objectives. One of his nicest moments comes as he enthusiastically tells the rapt Angus the plot of Hamlet in everyday vernacular.
The title comes from Angus’ former ability to draw, particularly an architectural drawing of side by side homes he and Morgan had once planned to build that's been long buried beneath the floor boards of the modest wooden farm house that designer has evoked with an eye for the rurally rustic. Memeti’s directorial hand is notable for its patience with the plodding action and its restraint with a play that could use more than one heavy downpour (an impressive rain curtain) to relieve the arid redundant stretches.