With the threat of eviction and his looming graduation from a top university, Charles (an ambitious and energetic Trigney Morgan) must land a job or else he’ll land in St. Louis living in his parents’ house. Like many American twenty-two-year-olds, he enjoys his autonomy and has no desire to fly back to the nest, but in a troubled economy his job hunt doesn’t progress as easily planned. When he has difficulty securing a position at the congressman’s office where he has served as an intern for three years, Charles discovers he’s not as special or exceptional as he once thought, just a leaf like many other leaves, on a tree like many other trees, growing in a fiscally-challenged forest.
The best scenes in Paul Notice’s “Leaves Trees Forest” take place in Charles’s apartment that he shares with Allen, an equally intelligent but more laid back young man played perfectly by Corey Hendrix. Morgan and Hendrix produce such great chemistry and humor as their characters bicker about rent money and debate potential Band-aids for the healthcare crisis, all under a framed poster of Barack Obama. Equally as entertaining is the strained relationship between Charles and his strong, independent, yet still smitten ex-girlfriend, Dana (a vivacious Shayla Jackson), who leaks private information about the congressman for Charles to use to his advantage. Terry Francois is a charmer as Dana’s sassy gay cousin but unfortunately David Adams and Marc A. Rogers play their characters, Roger and Representative Clayton respectively, a little too one-dimensional.
Director Carla Stillwell has ensured an emotionally well-balanced play that keeps moving at all costs. She really allows the characters their freedom and this imbues the show with a certain amount of ease, especially paired with Danjuma Gaskin’s simple sets that provide just enough interesting detail without distracting. If you’ve even been twenty-two, definitely check it out.