Irreparably broken relationships, wanton violence and abstract, philosophical musings: Yes, Profile Theatre’s
season opener, Eyes for Consuela
, certainly has all of playwright Sam Shepard’s trademarks. Minutes after they meet on a moonlit rural Mexican street, Amado (Andrés Alcalá) is holding his machete at the gringo Henry (Michael Mendelson). He doesn’t want the bumbling tourist’s money or valuables. It’s a pair of blue eyes that Amado’s after, to give as a bleeding, apologetic gift to his wife Consuela (an enchanting Crystal Ann Muñoz), seen only briefly as she rocks and prances about the raised stage.
Back in Henry’s cheapo hotel room, Amado doesn’t back down—though he didn’t really seem too threatening in the first place—and the two men get to talking about their wives. Amado offended his wife by accidentally shooting her father, while Henry smothered his, triggering his midlife escape to Mexico. Shepard examines neither their parallels nor their differences, though director Mikhael Tara Garver makes camp of Henry’s pleas for mercy, with supporting comedic relief in Amado’s bullheadedness. “There is absolutely nothing inside me that can understand this…stuff,” says Mendelson, a comic whose schtick is exasperation.
Through no fault of the seasoned cast, Eyes for Consuela feels like Shepard’s own unresolved midlife crisis, a play that ticks all the boxes for Shepardesque themes but runs away from its own problems.
GO: Eyes for Consuela
is at Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through Feb. 2. $30. Tickets here