Imagine being stranded at a railway station late at night, in a wheelchair, unable to cross the tracks to get home. Imagine the person who normally helps you not being there, and the new station official saying that carrying a wheelchair is not part of his job description. Imagine that you have cerebral palsy, and that you can manage to drag yourself across the bridge. But what about the wheelchair?
So the choice is, stay there all night, or make a superhuman effort and somehow get yourself and your chair to the other side.
Adam Grant Warren is in that situation, and the most mesmerizing portion of this play is when, without a word being spoken, he releases the Velcro which keeps his feet in place, tips himself out onto the ground and proceeds to dismantle the chair. The process is excruciating, and takes time. We watch as he painstakingly piles the parts up the steps and across the railway bridge, hanging onto the railing and moving them with his feet. We feel exhausted when he is safely across; but the process of putting the chair back together and hauling himself into it, then refastening the strap for his feet, still has to be done.
Last Train In puts the audience in the protagonist’s shoes, and makes everybody feel exactly what he feels when coping with these everyday problems. We feel his frustration when he tries to get in touch with his girlfriend in Korea, but the WiFi and the cell phone don’t co-operate. We feel his absolute helplessness in dealing with the bullies at the school where he teaches, or when he ‘wheelies’ himself onto the floor and refuses help in getting up. We want to weep at the unfairness of it all.
But don’t go away with the impression that this is a dismal story – far from it! This is drama, with flashes of real humour, insight and compassion. We are left with a feeling of hope. This talented actor keeps our attention for 85 minutes, during which you could hear the proverbial pin drop. A scintillating piece of theatre!
There is still an opportunity to see this play, at the Metro Theatre, on Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 pm. intrepidtheatre.com or Ticket Rocket at 250-590-6291.