Da'Vine Joy Randolph is a vibrant, sassy presence as Sheryl, Hank's supernumerary colleague. Incongruously garbed in their Viking/Valkyrie costumes, they discuss life's disappointments on cigarette breaks outside the opera house.
Randolph is initially both dignified and hilarious, especially when "OVERpreparing" for a big audition by rehearsing a dramatic Lady Macbeth speech. ("Go honey!" she says, channeling Lady Macbeth after Macbeth gets promoted to Thane of Cawdor.) Randolph has an almost-over-the-top meltdown when drama-queen Sheryl despairingly realizes her dream of becoming a star is slipping away.
All these messy emotions spill forth on a cool, austere gray set by Laura Jellinek, highlighted by metaphorical sight gags that include a papier-mache likeness of God's head, Lydia's ever-present orange ski hat, and a payphone with an improbably long cord that will never be long enough to reconnect Hank to Gina.
There may not be a word that rhymes with America, yet Gibson expertly illuminates the non-rhyming poetry within ordinary people desperate to figure out how to move forward.