Rachel is one just really happy person by nature – this despite the fact that her husband tells her he has hired a hit man to kill her. She’s really happy but not completely stupid and flees their home as the sound of bullets whiz about her, embarking upon a cross country driving trip.
She ends up living with another couple who appear perfect on the surface but have secrets of their own. In Reckless, a dark comedy by Craig Lucas, Kim Tobin-Lehl plays an optimist dealing with one blow after another that comes her way in what 4th Wall Theatre Company has said will be their last show before closing up shop.
Her husband and co-founder of the theater company, Philip Lehl, will direct the seven-member cast that also includes John Feltch, Jennifer Dean, Nick Farco, Deborah Hope, Kathleen Teodoro and Zac Kelty.
“I would call it a quirky Christmas comedy,” he said. “We’re doing it again because we loved the first production and it’s been seven years since we did it. And we wanted a holiday play but we didn’t want more of the same.”
Set in the 1980s before the dawn of ubiquitous cell phones and before computers were everywhere, the play offers “a terrific part for Kim and she wanted to do it again,” Lehl said.
"I think its a great acting role for a woman, a lead role for a woman and it has a kind of agelessness to it as well,” Tobin-Lehl said. “It spans about 20 years for the lead character but because it’s also a kind of magical realism as well the age has some flexibility for that character."
Alley Theatre regular Feltch, who plays Lloyd, said he always wanted to do a play with 4th Wall. “this is one of those plays that theater people tend to really love because it has a theatricality. It sort of pushes the boundaries of what's real and what isn't. It’s also got a wonderful sense of humor. Dark sometimes but a very delicious sense of humor even in the most morbid moments. I think on that level it’s a highly relatable."
“Lloyd is a man with a hidden past who has completely turned his life around and is a giver, a nurturer who carries a burden," Feltch said. "Fate has not been kind to him but he has compensated in all kinds of positive and wonderful ways."
"What's refreshing about this play is that everyone in it has a struggle but they all of them have a positive life force about them," Feltch said.
"Almost every person in this play has done or is doing something really bad but they're very lovable wonderful good people," Tobin-Lehl said. "Which I think is a really interesting thing to watch and I think you should take into the world. People are not one thing. People are not one deed, are not one thing they did. They're a lot of things.
"If you did one thing in the past you regret, it doesn’t mean you can’t make up for it, your can't start over, you can't reinvent yourself and go forward to make up in spades and be better than you ever were in your past."
Lehl says the back story to this play includes the fact that playwright Lucas was abandoned by his mother in the back seat of a car as an infant. "This play feels like a love letter to his mother who he never knew in that it follows a woman who is forced to abandon her children and explains why she can't go back to them and what she does in her life in that time," he said.
Tobin-Lehl says her character “believes in people more than the average bear. Some people would call it naive but other people would call it faith. She has a lot of faith in mankind. She believes in good. I
"It's a Christmas-based play," she said. "It’s reflecting back why you never give up, you never stop believing. Even if you have to retreat to recoup, there’s always hope.”
Performances of Reckless are scheduled from November 30 through December 16 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com. $32-$53. $17 Students, $26 Seniors. Pay what you can Monday December 11.