(L-R: Sarah Olmsted-Thomas and Alyssa Wilmoth-Keegan in No Rules Theatre’s production of Late: A Cowboy Song. Photo: Second Glance Photography)
Despite the title of Sarah Ruhl’s Late: A Cowboy Song, this early work from a quickly rising playwright is about being trapped rather than being late. The show now playing at No Rules Theatre features a heroine Mary (Sarah Olmsted-Thomas) who is trapped in an abusive relationship and day-to-day bustle that is quickly getting away from her to the point where it feels like she’s living from holiday to holiday. Her exasperated observation about the litany of holidays in a year will ring true to you once you sit down and think about it. Her boyfriend/husband Crick (Chris Dinolfo) is trapped in a perpetual man-child state which involves a love for modern art that borders on unhealthy and extremely needy tendencies. Mary’s childhood friend Red (Alyssa Wilmoth-Keegan) found her escape through her life as a cowboy living outside the city setting of Pittsburgh. The show’s eclectic tastes include musical interludes, interpretive dance, and clever use of props. However, despite a captivating exploration of identity, romance, and the idea of the perfect life, Late is a production trapped in its own complexity. Its lack of polish can be attributed to a playwright’s early work.