The cold Canadian winter - when the lakes are so thick with ice you can walk across them - is a metaphor in this moody drama. Colette's life is also frozen -- she's become emotionally numb, waiting for news about her absent spouse.
Then suddenly, standing on the ice, she spots a handsome young stranger with a mysterious past. For the middle-aged Colette, the guy is like catnip. She welcomes him as a good omen, the way Noah reacts when a dove returns to the ark with an olive branch.
But there is also a pronounced sexual tension between Colette and the good-looking stranger, who is half her age. Their mutual attraction soon dominates the tale.
"Have you been travelling long?"
"Yeah, a while now."
"You're on your way home?"
"Ah, yeah. Well, home is a relative term."
"Yeah, I suppose it is."
"I don't suppose anybody misses me where I'm from."
You'll notice that her hopeful questions bring out few details. But his remarks hit the bull's eye.
"Is this your husband's parka?"
"Now, did I say I was married?"
"(Laughs). No. But this is not exactly a woman's coat."
"(Giggles). Yes, it's my husband's."
"Where is he?"
"Well. (pause) That's a bit of a story."
Actually, Colette's husband's spirit materializes in many scenes, though only Colette and the audience can see him. Gradually, we find out more about the young stranger, as he and Colette grow closer. Intimacy and honesty go together in this play.
B street veteran Elisabeth Nunziato turns in a fine performance as the anguished Colette. And intern Dan Fagan, as the young hunk, fits right into this show's experienced cast.
It's a play full of airy, sexy ambiguity and lingering questions, making this one of the more interesting shows in the B Street's Mainstage series this year. It works on a more intuitive, emotional wavelength than the familiar B Street comedies. And director Buck Busfield's willingness to pick a play that's a bit different, and stage it well, really pays off.
In Absentia continues at the B Street Theatre through April 15th.