“An Infinite Ache” has an entirely freshman cast and crew, but one would never guess.
Scott Chaloff ’08 was warned early on that it would be difficult, foolhardy and nearly impossible to do a show with purely freshmen performers. In the end, though, Chaloff proved the naysayers wrong in his directorial debut by bringing together this talented group.
Chaloff attempts to provide an “antidote” to the overwhelmingly political nature of most shows at Yale, opting instead for a show that is simply about love — and all of its permutations.
The play follows the many different forms of love between Charles (Joshua Odsess-Rubin ’08) and Hope (Sarah Minkus ’08). Their relationship begins as an awkward encounter between two naïve twenty-somethings and becomes a deep understanding between two octogenarians that have weathered life’s storm.
Odsess-Rubin and Minkus portray characters that live with and fight against love. They argue, make up, break-up, then come back together; the only constant aspect of both characters is the love that they feel for one another, and it comes through very strongly in the production.
The two actors have great chemistry that they use to create sexual tension that is nearly palpable in the opening scene. Moving fluidly from one episode in their lives to the next, they deal well with the fact that there is so much left unsaid and so much that occurs between scenes: Charles and Hope transition from young sweethearts to older lovers, and Minkus and Odsess-Rubin pull it off well.
The only thing that may make their performance better would be a reconciliation of their intensity levels. Odsess-Rubin does not relax, which seems strange next to Minkus’s laid back energy. It is not a question of commitment to the material, as both are deeply involved, but a question of focused energy.
It is refreshing to see a show that is so tight and so well paced. Chaloff has a great sense of pacing, making sure that the show is not rushed, but also not sloppy. Every moment is filled and the action never lags.
The set, by Alice Tai ’08, is also an asset to the show. Like the characters’ love, the set goes through small changes that are noticeable without indicating a totally different space. The changes from one setting to another are smooth and effortless, a credit to both Tai and Chaloff.
What is so wonderful about “Ache” is that it comes in with no pretensions: just a clear sense of humanity and truth. The production is clean — very little is left wanting in terms of both performances and aesthetic appeal.
Great things can be expected from this fledgling group of freshman that have proven themselves as talented, if not more so, than many upperclassmen here at Yale.