In “A Word of Two,” written and performed by Christopher Plummer, Plummer takes the audience on a journey through his childhood, adolescence and adult years all against the backdrop of literature. This is truly a man who loves the written word and all of the wondrous stories that can be found, bound between two covers. His enthusiasm and zeal is infectious as he bounces from children’s literature, to poetry, to the Bible, to Shakespeare as he reminisces through the years. The powerful baritone voice at his command is mesmerizing as he recites passages and monologues. His story is sweet and humorous, and while he jokes about the length of the show, it is over all too soon.
Setting the scene behind Plummer is Robert Brill’s magnificent set design. What at first glance appears to be a spiraling tornado up into the sky is in reality a twisting collection of books strung up into the likeness of a staircase, which lends a degree of poignancy to a passage Plummer recites about retreating up the stairs to a certain spot with a good book.
The podium on stage left is thankfully used sparingly with Plummer instead preferring the director’s chair and table on stage right facilitating a much more intimate and conversational feel despite the vast size of the Ahmonson Theater.
The vast wooden planked backdrop is lit beautifully by Michael Walton. It is at times unassuming, blending in to the surroundings, and at others dramatically lit to properly set the mood of the piece. Like Plummer’s performance, Walton’s design doesn’t miss a beat and is beautifully complemented by Sean Nieuwenhuis’ video design.
Seeing an actor of the likes of Christopher Plummer perform live is a novelty in and of itself. Seeing him in a truly enchanting piece of his own creation is a rare treat.
Kat Michels is a two-time regional Emmy award-winning writer with an AAS in video production and a BFA in theatre.