Like a Disease - Fool for Love

I get sick every time you come around.  Then I get sick when you leave.  You’re like a disease to me.
— Sam Shepard, Fool for Love

Odds are you can find a bit, if not a lot, of truth in this quote.  Maybe you've experienced this sentiment in your life,  maybe a specific situation or relationship, past or present, came to the forefront of your mind.  A situation where you found yourself torn between attraction and danger, teetering the edge of desires on each polar.  We instinctively distance ourselves from these moments in order to find peace, only to live in our “memories” of what was; yet we all know that in memories, like dreams, the further we get from them the more illusive they become.  Blurring the line between truth and illusion.

ALLISON F. RICH* as May and ROB AUGUST* as Eddie in San Jose Stage Company’s FOOL FOR LOVE by Sam Shepard. *Members of Actors’ Equity Association. Photo by Dave Lepori. 

ALLISON F. RICH* as May and ROB AUGUST* as Eddie in San Jose Stage Company’s FOOL FOR LOVE by Sam Shepard. *Members of Actors’ Equity Association. Photo by Dave Lepori. 

Fool For Love explores the seemingly unattainable balance between our desires and our reality, through Eddie and May’s spiral through their past and present.  Their relationship is one that some call the “Twin Flame”; unlike a soul-mate which serves as our “perfect match” these twin flame relationships serve as our “perfect mirror” awakening us to who we truly are.  Typically sparked by an instantaneous connection that feels like your soul recognizing someone it has known before, feeling as though you’ve been truly seen for the first time.  These on-again-off-again relationships bringing with them equal amounts of passion and equal amounts “how can this be love?”  It’s that relationship that feels more like a magnetic force than an emotional pull, one that rips out the soul and lays it bare for the world to see.  Creating an elusive desire to find stability in the instability.

We meet Eddie & May at the peak of one of their magnetic cycles that has drawn them back together once again in their seemingly never-ending search for the truth in their illusion.  After pushing for their freedom they are ultimately pulled back by the uncontrollable desire to be seen, to be loved.  Though this love is not comprised of shades but the furthest spectrums of emotions; the crazy and the sane, the messy and the harmonious, the seductive and the destructive.

The dichotomy of this relationship is heightened through the presence of The Old Man, who simultaneously grounds them & drives them further into illusion.   He brings with him a familial stability that both Eddie & May crave while also yanking them further into their past haunts.   As they begin to accept more of the truth about their past experiences, they travel further from the comfort of their isolated memories into the purview of their collective understanding. Illusion, ultimately, cannot hold up; truth takes over.


This stark reality extends beyond the characters into the setting itself,  Fool For Love thematically parallels the climate: the Mojave Desert.  Although breath-takingly beautiful, the Mojave Desert is truly a harsh, vast, empty space best known for containing Death Valley.  Its borders are marked by the San Andres and Garlock faults一the two largest faults in California (which you will find echoed in the set design by Michael Palumbo).  The little vegetation that survives in the Mojave – most famously, Joshua trees – embodies this climate. With sparse greenery and branches that stretch in every direction, the trees appear to be reaching out for any possible form of nourishment that can be found in the scorched landscape.

Like the Mojave, Eddie and May’s relationship is seductively beautiful, but decidedly dangerous. Making it impossible for them to completely leave behind both the place they came from and each other.  They're struggle then becomes; face the mirror and constantly live in the truth of their volatile reality or escape to the illusion of their memories.  Although even in memories, like dreams, the visceral effects of our experiences linger at times for life.

By Clinton Williams

Fool for Love

By Sam Shepard

Nov 22 - Dec 17, 2017