SALT LAKE CITY — Taking a deep look at relationships, human connection and sexuality, Round², written by JayC Stoddard, centers around four characters and how their lives interconnect. Directed by Bobby Cody and produced by Utah Repertory Theater Company, this intriguing story of sex, deception, and struggle captivated my attention and caused me to contemplate the ideas of basic human instinct, desires, and needs.
In Round² a war “Vet” (played by JayC Stoddard) and “Girl” (Natalia Noble) spend the night together, but what was meant to be a casual hook-up becomes more as their stories unfold. Their lives become intertwined with “Husband” (John R. Belliston) and “Wife” (Ali Lente), when these two characters decide they want to participate in a sexual threesome with “Girl.” Husband and Wife are then forced to individually reexamine their marriage and what they truly want out of life.
I was most impressed by the natural acting style embraced by all of the actors, as if I was simply viewing real people that in no way seemed like actors speaking scripted lines. Lente, as “Wife,” was genuine and sincere, demonstrating some of the truest of human emotions and complexity. As her relationship with “Girl” develops, I could see an awakening within her character that I found beautiful. Noble is equally as realistic in her role, bringing an abundance of humor to her charismatic but apathetic character. Belliston and Stoddard share a profound chemistry that left me longing for more time with them onstage. I was engaged with every character and their unique depiction of what love and sex means to them.
Round² is raw and powerful, prompting audience members to consider the importance and relevance the roles of love and sex play in their own lives. The play is a look at how relationships can change, and if individuals should ultimately strive to maintain one’s own happiness, or sacrifice for the happiness of others. Similar to Sex With Strangers (also at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival right now), Round² is recommended only for mature audiences.