Michael Weller’s lengthy program note for Jericho, a reworking of Ferenc Molnár’s play Liliom, acknowledges that it failed when first produced in 1909. He notes “it’s [sic] inventive and unexpected story, blend of crime, romance, fairy-tale” and “off-center mordant humor,” along with “a love story like no other I know of.” Audiences will recognize the plot of Carousel: Rodgers and Hammerstein took the play, which became a Theatre Guild hit in 1921, and used it as the basis for a more far-reaching success.
At the start of Michael Weller’s Loose Ends, splashing waves are projected onto a screen that is surrounded by photo collages as two lovebirds embrace each other on a moonlit Balinese beach in 1970. Sensitive Paul (Loren Bidner) courts distant Susan (Sarah Mae Vink) as he shares with her his exotic adventures in the Peace Corps. Susan childishly responds by retelling the story of when she was 11 years old and had her tonsils cremated. Their passionate moment in seclusion suddenly fizzles out when Susan’s offbeat, chatterbox friend, Janice (Melanie Glancy), finds them with her trusty flashlight. Janice is worried because Susan never returned from her evening walk.