Love, Loss And Loneliness Explored In “Animals Out Of Paper” At R-S Theatrics


Teresa Doggett as Ilana and Andrew Kuhlman as Andy share an awkward Valentine’s dinner together in “Animals Out Of Paper” at R-S Theatrics.

A story about Origami does not leap to mind when thinking of great subject matters for a play. But “Animals Out Of Paper,” by Rajiv Joseph,       makes it the basis of a sad love triangle that unfolds on the stage at the Chapel as presented by R-S Theatrics. Seems to be the season for such stories as WEPG recently opened their homage to love triangles with “Rapture, Blister, Burn.” Actually, origami fits well into the mold of humans who are trying to bend and mold their lives to avoid loss and loneliness and attempting to find something lasting.


Teresa Doggett as Ilana and Ethan Isaac as Suresh in the R-S Theatrics production of “Animals Out Of Paper.”

Ilana is a well known author and lecturer on the art of origami. Her creations are outstanding and give her worldwide attention but her life has recently taken a hit via a divorce. As she holes up in her small apartment, she eats Chinese, discards the cardboard containers hither and yon and seems to have given up her art. Local theatrician, Teresa Doggett, handles the role with heart-breaking dignity. You can see her pain as she begins a new relationship and then quickly turns her head for yet another man (or boy) in her life. She, like her origami, is continually folding and unfolding as she rearranges her life. I refer to Ms. Doggett as a theatrician because of her extensive work in so many phases of theatre in our town. She’s a dynamite costume designer and seamstress, her name pops up under other behind the scenes chores but mainly we know her from her extensive work on stage. This is just one in her long line of brilliant performances.


Andrew Kuhlman as Andy and Teresa Doggett as Ilana in “Animals Out Of Paper” at R-S Theatrics.

Andy upsets her descent into loneliness when, as treasurer of the national origami association, calls on her to see if she is going to pay her dues (a bit overdue, it seems) and if she is going to be attending this year’s big origami bash. He heaps praise upon her, compliments her work- even to the point of accepting her gift of a huge paper hawk hanging from her ceiling. You can tell from the get-go that he is smitten with her. He is also a high school math teacher and tells her of a student he has who is a whiz kid in the world of origami. Andrew Kuhlman is perfect as the bumbling, inept Andy who is not too subtle in his show of affection for her. He then convinces her to see his student.

Enter Suresh who has not had an easy life himself and seems a bit disgruntled that he must see this lady when he has no desire for a mentor. Ethan Isaac is a real natural on stage. His lanky, easy-going style is perfect for the somewhat rebellious teen-ager. A series of events throws him together with Ilana, much to the chagrin of Andy and our love triangle takes a turn or two before things are resolved much differently than the audience may suspect.


Ethan Isaac as Suresh in the R-S Theatrics production of “Animals Out Of Paper.”

Todd Schaefer has directed with a deft hand on the small Chapel stage. He brings the emotions to the forefront and the mixture of fireworks and melancholy add up to a very satisfying play. Keller Ryan’s scene design is smart and effective while the Nathan Schroeder lights fit in perfectly. A shout out as well to managing director and properties master, Heather Tucker, who is an origamist herself and taught the cast- in particular Mr. Isaac- to fold animals in a timely manner.

This is a great companion piece to what we just saw at WEPG. Two totally different stories with very different takes on the subject but love triangles at the heart of both. Which way they bend depends on who’s folding or unfolding, changing or not changing their lives. Catch “Animals Out Of Paper” at the Chapel as presented by R-S Theatrics through December 6th. Give them a call at 314-252-8812 for tickets or more information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: