Or rather, these productions.
For, you see, this is a story about science, told in three full-length plays about a group of people performed by three different casts and directed by three different directors. It’s a big endeavor of a production, and it’s been getting good reviews for the smartness of it’s writing, the talent of it’s cast, and the scope of the piece itself.
In the interest of disclosure, I attended only the first play in the cycle – “Numbfeel” – and admit to knowing 3/6 of the cast, the director, and the playwright herself. (And I happen to think they’re all lovely.)
That, and I’m a person who likes a side of science with my theater.
This seemed right up my alley.
Essentially, it’s a story about people who work and talk about science.
(Really, there’s a lot of science packed into this play.)
Alice (Carol Enoch) is smart, successful, happy, and in love with Peter (Michael Mercier.) Alice’s roomate Arlie (Marissa Cowsill), her girlfriend Lill (Emily Shain) and Peter’s Brother Billy (Brett Lee) round out the urban tribe. Young, successful, and smart, their life is like an episode of “Friends” albeit with a lesbian relationship and smarter dialogue. Into this scene walks the great past love of Alice’s life, Isaac (Austin D. Oie) and things go right to hell.
The cast is incredibly strong. Carol Enoch, a veteran of Strange Tree productions, is always a fascinating presence to watch, and she’s in good form here. Her Alice is a smart cookie, a tough cookie, and a leading lady you care about. Austin D. Oie is more than up to the challenge of Isaac. He’s the know-it-all who thinks he’s better than everyone else, and yet there’s something appealing about him. (I knew a kid JUST like Isaac in college. He drove us all nuts. When he got shot down by one of my friends after asking him out, I was delighted. Is that petty?) The cast that surrounds this central relationship is full of interesting actors playing interesting people. Cowsill and Shain share a nice chemistry in their scenes together, and Lee gets most of the big laughs as the slacker dude amongst the overachievers. Mercier is very good in a role that could have easily become a foil. He reminded me a bit of Patrick Dempsey’s character in “Sweet Home Alabama.”
(Yes, I made the reference. And, to explain, Reese Witherspoon is engaged to Dempsey’s character, who is lovely and sweet and loves her. Then she goes home to her hick hometown and re-meets her ex-husband, who’s kind of a redneck and kind of a jerk, but charismatic and she chooses him instead. I remember leaving the movie thinking she made the wrong choice. I haven’t seen the other two plays in this trilogy, but the Isaac vs Peter battle brought this to my mind. Yes, I like science AND can reference Reese Witherspoon movies. Stop judging me.)
Chelsea M. Marcantel is a seriously promising playwright. Having seen a few of her pieces around town now, she possesses a really unique and modern voice that is missing from a lot of new theatre I see. And director Lavina Jadhwani creates lovely stage pictures with the limited technical elements available. (There’s three shows, so set pieces are kept to a minimum. I think 6 chairs and two tables are all there is, in retrospect.)
I dug the play.
Admittedly, I probably won’t be able to see the other two pieces before the show ends its run, but it’s definitely a piece I’d be curious to read, and one I hope has a longer life than just this production.
The Schedule –
July 3rd through 25th
Thursdays @ 7pm (Numbfeel)
Fridays @ 7pm (Dumbspeak)
Saturdays @ 7pm (Blindsight)
Sundays @ 3pm (Numbfeel/Dumbspeak/Blindsight)
$10 – Saturday, July 3rd Preview
$15 – Single show on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday
$25 – Sunday performances (all three plays)
$20 – Industry rate for Sunday performances (all three plays)
For tickets, visit http://www.viaducttheatre.com or call 773.296.6024
Get your science-theatre on.