an After abortion

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Monday, August 9, 2004

17 Degrees Off

"Pavilion" is a new play by dramatist Craig Wright. He also works in television, writing for the HBO series, "Six Feet Under". That series has featured several storylines suggesting that abortions come back to haunt us.

The new play premiered in Chicago over the weekend.

At the often bitter and realistic heart of the story are two long-estranged lovers, Peter (Paul D'Addario), a psychologist in the Twin Cities, and Kari (Lynda Newton), unhappily married for many years and still working at the bank job she's held for decades.

Peter and Kari were high school sweethearts whose lives were changed when Kari became pregnant. Peter fled home under his father's orders and headed for college; Kari had an abortion and was saved from local humiliation by Hans, a man who protected and married her. As grateful as she's been to Hans, Kari has not been able to love him. And she rages against Peter, whom she encounters at the reunion for the first time since his departure, for leaving her with a life that has been, as she powerfully puts it, "17 degrees off."

Peter has also suffered psychic damage as a result of his decision to flee; he's had many affairs but no solid attachment or marriage. And he has clearly returned to Pine City (with guitar and flowers in tow) with the hope that he can put the past to rest -- either that, or reignite it.

Wright makes it clear that the lovers' scars will never vanish, but he leaves some hope that they may one day be less disfiguring.

"17 degrees off"...a perfect description.

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