In Jeff Mustard's Chance, the latest offering from the Open-Door Playhouse Podcast, two hospital patients form an unlikely friendship. Directed by Dennis Gersten, the audio play follows a young woman who OD's in a failed suicide attempt and an older man who, while trying to donate a kidney to a complete stranger, discovers he has cancer. At first, the two seem to be at odds, but curiosity and sympathy eventually win out. As the two patients wait for a cure, they swap stories and discover there's a little tenderness in everyone, no matter how jaded.
Chance feels less like a complete play and more like a snapshot. It's only 20 minutes long, and we don't get much rising or falling action, nor do we get a deep dive into the characters' lives. But what we do get, aside from one or two short scenes that feel a little unnecessary, is well-balanced and well-chosen. Even from this brief snapshot, the characters emerge as strong and forceful. Amber (the young woman, played by Sue Gisser) is rather exasperating, but perhaps that's the point. At any rate, it makes the final scene, the highlight of the piece, in which Amber finally opens up enough to share her tender side, all the more powerful.
If, on the whole, I found Chance a little underwhelming, it's a sweet glimpse of an encounter between two broken-down strangers--a much needed story of human connection under trying circumstances.
Chance is written by Jeff Mustard and directed by Dennis Gersten. The cast features Sue Gisser as Amber Jordon, Rosney Mauger as Michael Hollings, Noelle Evangelista as Massage Client/Older Passenger, Ayla Rose Barreau as Flight Attendant/Nurse, and Dennis Gersten as Jeff. The play was recorded at the Oak House Recording Studio in Altadena, CA with Sound Engineer David Peters. For more info and to listen to Chance, see the link below.