‘Last Night’ at The Players’ Ring Orson Welles was famous for saying a lot of things, but my personal favorite quote is, “No one likes to leave a theater feeling empty." In newcomer Carolyn Gallo’s play, “Last Night,” audience members feel so many things that, when they leave, they feel as though they just stepped off a rollercoaster—lightheaded and slightly nauseated. And just because they may have seen one or two of those dips coming doesn’t mean their stomachs don’t get thrown right into their throats. The feeling is jolting, horrifying, hopeful, agonizing and delicious. This rookie knocked it out of the park on her first try. “Last Night,” which runs through Sunday, April 20 at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, takes you on a journey that begins as a well-traveled path. You already know these characters: You’ve dated them, they’re your brothers, and the klutzy, well-meaning but unconfident lead character reminded me of the young woman I once stared at in the mirror. Oh, yes, I knew these characters. I remember the arrogant but gorgeous lady’s man, and I remember the obsessive/ compulsive youth who refused to realize his potential because he might have failed—or succeeded. Christine Penney, an actress who we briefly lost to the West Coast but who has since returned to the Seacoast, plays Emma, a yoga instructor who can cross an empty room and still find something to trip over—or someone to douse with her own coffee, smoothie, you name it. Penney lifts her character up from the twodimensional pages of the story and inflates her into a three-dimensional figure, flaws and all. Andrew Nowacki and G. Matthew Gaskell play Marty and Nate, boy and OCD patient, respectively. Both characters work in the administrative department of the same hospital. (Although Nate actually earned an MD, he just couldn’t face the reality of giving his patients bad news.) Marty swears by his yoga class and its teacher, Emma. Reeking testosterone at every turn, he’s got the babes lined up, and he takes his time putting his sights on the perfect filly with whom to spend a week or a month. But even Marty has his surprises in store when he reveals his true desires, and Nate, with each passing second, becomes more scared of life, to disastrous effect. Two guys, one strong friendship. Along comes a girl. Need I say more? But in this play, there is more—much more. There are three people with three different sets of wants and needs that don’t necessarily match up. In addition to that, there are the curveballs that life throws at us to knock us on our butts. As I’ve said before and will doubtless say again, director Tim Robinson has a nose for finding just the right actor for each role, and, as John Huston used to say, “If you cast the actors properly, you don’t really need to advise them that much.” Robinson, whose work has ranged from the classic to the newborn, brought some brand new conventions to this otherworldly love triangle and its tests of friendship. Lighting designer Stan Zabecki does more than light a stage, he creates a fluid set with his use of light. A Murphy Bed-esque setting by Norm Smith adds to the show’s sleight-of-hand quality. You will laugh. You will cry. You will ache. You will, as Welles hoped with all his heart, feel. “Last Night” will be performed at The Players’ Ring at 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth, through Sunday April 20. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. on Sundays (no performance on Friday, April 11). Tickets are $12 general public, $10 students and seniors, $2 off for members. Call 603-436-8123 for reservations. < Prev Next > www.wirenh.com/stage-mainmenu-15/32-stage-general/2870-staging-a-love-triangle.html.com brand new conventions to this otherworldly love triangle and its tests of friendship. Lighting designer Stan Zabecki does more than light a stage, he creates a fluid set with his use of light. A Murphy Bed-esque setting by Norm Smith adds to the show’s sleight-of-hand quality. You will laugh. You will cry. You will ache. You will, as Welles hoped with all his heart, feel.