I've never seen much allure in mountain climbing.
So much can go wrong, and so much often does, even for inveterate adventurers. Basically all the worst ways to die are covered in that sport, not to mention that most venues to practice it are absurdly, fatally cold.
My opinion of the hobby really hasn't changed much after seeing "K2," playing now at the Lake City Playhouse.
But now at least I have a more poetic perspective of those who lay so much on the line for a low-oxygen rush.
The premise of the one-act play is brutally simple. A couple of buddies who were ascending an icy peak have suffered an unfortunate mishap. Now the two men, portrayed by George Green and Todd Kehne, sit stranded, glumly mulling over their mortality.
See what I mean? Dangerous sport.
That said, the play is beautiful.
I admit, audience members with short attention spans might have trouble sitting through it, though the piece is barely over an hour. This is a character-driven piece in the purest form. The duration of the play is the two men talking - occasionally yelling - getting cold, attempting to rescue some lost rope, vomiting, getting colder, and sitting and talking some more. Their conversation skips from theoretical physics to the justice system to love to death.
Those with even a little patience will find it well paced, and will appreciate how the piece boldly highlights our inner most fears.
It's less of a play than a study, of humanity and brotherhood and disillusionment. The two friends' conversation plays more dour not when they're talking about their emergency, but when they're reflecting on their contempt for the society so far below them.
Yet their odious remarks are fully redeemed in their unwavering devotion to each other, both bound to seeing the other survive.
The audience continually learns more about them, and hopes they don't die.
It's taken me too long in this review to celebrate the actors who confidently carry the dialogue-laden piece. Kehne, playing the irascible Taylor, is expert in exuding his character's fury over the hopeless situation. Every obscenity that flies from his lips underscores the futility of getting emotional at all.
Green, also executive artistic director at the playhouse, conveys a sad sweetness in his injured character's vulnerable state. His character Harold is the understated foil to his tempestuous friend, and Green conveys deep pain with a soft-spoken assurance.
The play by Patrick Meyers might be short, but a little of such visceral drama goes a long way.
"K2" runs through Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Lake City Playhouse. The play is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for military/students, $13 for seniors, $11 for children.
To purchase tickets ahead of time, call 667-1323 or go to www.lakecityplayhouse.org.
Containing some harsh language, the show probably isn't appropriate for small children.