by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

On a cool desert night, lovers fall for each other, argue, swear they can’t go on, and then … they go on.

Lighting Rod Theater’s presentation of award-winning playwright Tom Stanczyk’s, This Side of Sweetwater, is a melange of absurd and romantic etudes. An ode of sorts to the now deceased writer, who was killed in a car accident in front of his home.

Yes, the title is aptly awarded.  It’s definitely sweet. In stories that could have been set up as much more dramatically cutting, the directors and cast members of each piece take this journey as if they are floating somewhere on the edge of a beautifully cascading surreal imagination. For all of the bumps the couples encounter, the bitterness that could surface, vengeance for meaningful and meaningless wrongs that each person commits with one another, somehow Stanczyk’s writing manages to not go down the path of pain. Instead, a light, unspoken forgiveness and acceptance.

It’s a bare bones, feel-good arrangement. Guaranteed to walk you out of the theater on a high note.