The story of unrequited or forbidden love is as old as Methuselah.
We read about it, write about it, sing about, watch it play out on the big screen. And still, we’re willing to give every forbidden love story a fresh set of eyes. The reason being, unfulfilled yearning is a universal concept and a plot line that can take off in a billion different directions.
In the play “Plenty of Time,” running now at the Billie Holiday Theatre, Corey (Jackie Alexander) and Christina (Celestine Rae) share a forbidden love that spans more than 30 years.
However, what makes this entertaining story of forbidden love so different than most is the way in which the couple deals with their transgression: They ignore it.
The story, written by John Shévin Foster and directed by Jackie Alexander, is set in 1968 at Martha’s Vinyard where Cory, a young and rebellious Black Panther, and Christina, a spoiled teenage debutant meet at a private club on the island where Corey works as a busboy and Christina is a guest.
They are opposites in every way and so are, naturally, drawn to each other. Immediately the two decide to consummate their attraction in the bedroom of Christina’s parents’ summer home on the island, despite the fact both already are in relationships with other partners.
The story unfolds via the couple’s argument-filled and sexually charged relationship-- a relationship that sustains and moves across four decades, again, despite the fact that Christina marries and stays married and Corey goes on to have children with another woman.
With the passing of each decade we see Corey and Christina mature and their relationship grow stronger as they meet secretly most summers at the same place in the Vineyard. Through these short-lived summer visits, the two grow to understand each other well and become the life support of the other’s own development where their real romantic partners seem to fall short.
Although this forbidden love story seems to pull off its premise, some may find it a little disquieting. The reason: These two lovebirds did in fact commit adultery for 34 years. And the story’s writer makes no attempt to add any twists or turns to the plot line – in the form of tragedy, fear or heavy guilt – to explain this away.
In fact, the entire script sidesteps a few obvious truths, as it concerns the evolution of an honest love relationship—forbidden or not.
This frailty in the writing adds an unfortunate level of superficiality to Foster’s story, and makes an otherwise bittersweet (or supremely salacious) love relationship between two people seem less like the unbreakable-ties-that bind love story it could have been and more like a long-standing high school crush.
Nevertheless, the audience loved this play: They laughed out loud at the funny moments, sang along with the play’s musical interludes and delighted in being able to yell out predictions of the characters’ next moves and lines.
In the end, “Plenty of Time” gives the audience ample time to at least bond with the characters and still root for their happy ending.
“Plenty of Time” is running now through March 25, Thursday – Friday, 8:00pm, Saturday 3:00pm and 8:00pm, Sunday 4:00pm, the Billie Holiday Theatre, 1368 Fulton Street, Bklyn, NY. Tickets are $12 - $25, depending upon day and showtime. To see schedule and order tickets, go here.