At the start of I and You, a teenage boy comes over to a teenage girl's house to go over a homework assignment: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass poetry. She has a debilitating and chronic illness and cannot attend school.
“They don't know each other at all. He to some degree resents having to show up,” says visiting director Seth Gordon (a Houston Theater award winner), who is helming the production at Stages Repertory Theatre. “She resents his presence there, and slowly they learn to work together and they learn more about it other.
"The play becomes more and more about what the poem is about, which is the tension people have and that to some degree our nation has between the personal strength of the individual and the need for us to survive as a community.”
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Playwright Lauren Gunderson, who has made a habit of regional premieres to get her works before the audience, has introduced a twist that adds a sense of mystery and makes the pair's work to get along all the more crucial.
"Two very different people realize they need each other in order to survive and achieve happiness," Gordon says.
Poetry is quoted left and right, but don't let any hesitation about that stop you, Gordon says. “I think it will appeal to anybody. Young people because they will see themselves up there. Poetry lovers. Anyone who appreciates humanity.”
Performances are scheduled for May 4-22 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and 3 p.m. Sundays. 3201 Allen Parkway. Through May 22. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $15-$51.