Review: In "Hotel Good Luck," We Shouldn't Check Out Just Because We'll All Leave
Hotel Good Luck
Written by Alejandro Ricaño
Translated by Jacqueline Bixler
Directed by Samuel Buggeln
Co-presented by The Cherry Artists' Collective and New Ohio Theatre via YouTube
February 12-20, 2021
|Seth Soulstein and Desmond Bratton (background). Courtesy Emily Owens PR
Hotel Good Luck tells its dimension-hopping story using only two actors. We begin with Bobby (Seth Soulstein) recounting the story on his amateur radio show of a man who arrived at customs with a previously stamped passport from a country that doesn't exist (one wonders, given the rest of the play, whether this country bears an affinity with Hamlet's undiscovered one). After some morbidly amusing family history, Bobby tells of the death of superbly named Miller, the melancholic dog, an incident that leads him to discover that his erstwhile girlfriend, Lily, is with someone else now. But when Bobby steps through a beckoning refrigerator in a dream, he finds himself emerging from the titular hotel and Miller alive again. Bobby doesn't know if he is even awake, much less what is going on, but his best friend and psychoanalyst, Larry (Desmond Bratton) has some multiverse-oriented ideas.
|Desmond Bratton and Seth Soulstein. Courtesy Emily Owens PR
The irony and coincidence that recur throughout the play highlight that we never know when or why death will come, including by spontaneous human combustion. The question then becomes how we live, or fail to live, with the ever-present possibility of death for ourselves and those around us. Is it enough to know, as Bobby's father says, that we (re)turn to earth so that something else can grow? In the knowledge that we are only here for, in Bobby's words, a moment, can motivation outweigh fear? Hotel Good Luck explores these questions through repetitions that echo and are echoed by Bobby and Larry's conversation about reincarnation and that give the play the structure of a poem or a piece of music, if not also of the cycle of life and death.
Hotel Good Luck: Five stars; would book again.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards