Review: In ‘When It’s You,’ Isolation Has Consequences

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Ana Reeder in “When It’s You” at the Clurman Theater at Theater Row.

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Carol Rosegg

Ginnifer hasn’t had many boyfriends, and frankly the last one was a creep. But the first? A boy named Jason Hanley back in high school? For two decades, she’s remembered him fondly. When her mom died a few years ago, he came to the funeral and brought a Key lime pie.

So it is with more than the usual kind of horror that she reacts to a mass shooting in their city. She learns the news on Facebook, when scores of old classmates direct-message her, thinking she’ll have some insight. Jason died in the slaughter, but not as one of the victims. Glock 19 in hand, he was the gunman.

“Jason and I had dated for about six, maybe seven months our senior year,” Ginnifer tells us in Courtney Baron’s unsteady new solo play, “When It’s You,” presented by the Keen Company at the Clurman Theater at Theater Row. But in an hour-plus of talking, she whittles down the length of their relationship. And no, of course she never loved him. How could she have, given what he’s done?

But also: Why is she telling us this? That’s one of those critical questions that unfailingly sound grumpy and pedagogical, yet I never did figure out the answer. I don’t think Ms. Baron (“A Very Common Procedure”) did either. “I’m sorry. I really am,” Ginnifer says to the audience in her Texan lilt, sounding confused. “I am telling you this so we what?”

Played by the likable Ana Reeder, Ginnifer stands on a nearly bare stage (the set is by Steven Kemp) under bright white lights (by Josh Bradford), pouring out her story. Not always truthfully, mind you; she lies even to herself. But this is personal stuff — about Jason’s ordinary teenage sweetness and her solitary grown-up life, about her mother’s death and her faraway only sibling, who doesn’t much care to be…

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