SALT LAKE CITY — The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival is full of talented actors and well-written shows, and Wasatch Theatre Company’s Cold Storage is a great example of that fact. The play shows how deep love between two people is affected when they are kept apart for long. Cold Storage was intensely emotional and moving, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in tears from this performance.
Cold Storage, written by Jesse Nepivoda and directed by Haley McCormick Jenkins, is about a futuristic program that could somehow take a dying person and a healthy person and use the healthy body to save the dying. The opening shows a father (played by Jim Martin) begging his son (played by Carlos Nobleza Posas) not to enter this program and the son reassuring his father that he would return in five years with enough income for the rest of their lives. The scene changed to a dying husband (played by JayC Stoddard) and his loving wife (played by Liza Tomkinson) as they wait for treatment that will allow the husband’s mind to inhabit Posa’s body.
The only thing I wish the show would have addressed was how Posa’s gets to return to his father. The staging made it appear that the treatment involves removing the brain from a healthy body and putting the dying man’s brain in. That big unanswered question was distracting, but otherwise the story was engaging and cathartic. The emotion Tomkinson’s character showed being so lonely without her husband was severe and real. I loved how honest her acting was, as well as the mother-in-law, played by Vicki Pugmire. I also appreciated how well Stoddard played the invalid as he got a washcloth bath. He had such great faces while changing topics from his own paranoia to really seeing his wife there in front of him and caring so much about her.
Cold Storage may be painful to see, but it is also very enlightening on what love is and what fear can cause people to do. This is an important show to put on your schedule, and you won’t be sorry you did.