Eyes Wide Shut meets 2001

A&E the Myth

Written and directed by Leslie Bramm
Three Crows Theatre
Fringe Festival/Henry St. Settlement Experimental Theatre
Non-union production (closed)
Review by John Chatterton

A&E the Myth (Adam and Eve the myth?) alternates scenes between a dysfunctional modern couple (Ginny Hack and David Volin) and a couple of prehuman hominids (Shay Ansari and Erin Buckley).

The modern couple squabble over whose turn it is to control their sex fantasies; it's after midnight, so the woman has lost her turn, and the man is playing hard to get. The hominid couple court, get separated, and find each other again in a rhythm that hasn't gone out of style.

A problem with playing dysfunctional characters is the imitative fallacy: how do you play them without looking like a dysfunctional actor? In this case, what perhaps was meant as heightened diction sounded flat, crooning sounded like whining, and yearning came across as pouting; the actors sounded as though they were reading stilted dialog from a script. (Volin showed a lack of roundness in tone that perfectly fit his role as an emotional eunuch but read as lack of technique. Hack's coyness undercut her pique.)

The hominids, on the other hand, not hampered by an over-intellectualized script, had a field day with animal gestures, both physical and vocal. They hopped around in the squat position in a manner that indicated youthful joints and a willingness to suffer for their art, as well as great agility. The range of emotions they conveyed without uttering a word of English was remarkable. That their story didn't get much beyond "hominid meets hominid, hominid loses hominid, hominid gets hominid" came with the territory of not having lines in English. (Though the use of apples as tokens suggested some muddy thematic subtext perhaps related to the title.)

Modern dressing gowns and furry skins sufficed as costumes; a laptop computer (for surfing online personal ads) and a semicircle of bones were the only props; and the set consisted of a stool, a crinkled-aluminum pool, and black drapes. The audience looked down from bleachers.

Lest the audience leave without understanding the play, the program asked, "Must the heart de-evolve to re-evolve?" Unintentionally, perhaps, the play asks the same question of the theatre itself.

Box Score:

Writing: 0
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 1999 John Chatterton