In a galaxy far, far away...

Galaxy Video

Written and directed by Marc Morales
Edge of Insanity/Horse Trade Theater Group
Red Room
85 E. 4th St. (206-1515)
Non-union production (closes Mar. 24)
Review by John Chatterton

Galaxy Video is about what goes on in a video store run by marginally viable people, principally Russel (Braden Moran) and Jerry (Josh Mesnik), the latter a dork and the former an insufferable know-it-all wannabe screenwriter. The principal activity in the play happens when Russel sends people to the wrong aisles to find videos, where they run into even more marginal people, like Simon (Christopher Frankie DiGennaro), a nerd with severely impaired short-term memory, and Shelly (Roxane Policare), a narcoleptic. The parade of customers includes Scott and Chris (Josh Adler and Larry Brenner), the former a control freak who will not give up his right to choose what video they are going to watch tonight (The Thing), and Marissa and Erick (Daisy Payero and Charles Paul Holt), she a film know-nothing who insists on choosing the night's video and he a connoisseur. (A Double Indemnity subplot in which Erick and Chris agree to knock out their respective partners goes nowhere.) Other characters include an Angry Employee (Kerry Agate), who quit after one day at work -- because of the crazy people -- but has inexplicably returned; Melody (Nina Capelli), who sings movie soundtracks but has no other apparent story value; Beth (Wynn Everett), in a Sisyphean search for Midnight Cowboy; and Barnaby Franklin (Jeffrey G. McCrann), a former co-writer with Russel who figured out how to make money in showbiz but envies Russel's wasted talent. Oh, and don't forget the Ninjas, black-clad figures who helped move the scenery (video racks) and flitted about in the semidarkness.

Much could be made from any of these characters, especially the torn Russel and his former sidekick Barnaby Franklin, but the bits and pieces of the script are all over the place, and no one picks them up. Chaos finally conquers the Galaxy, and the customers (after undergoing some superficial changes that might lead to character development off stage) steal the videos they want and leave. (At one point one of the characters appeared to walk into a time warp, indicated by flashing lights, but the meaning to the story was unclear.)

Still, good stuff happened when the story wasn't, like an impromptu-looking cabaret act with Barnaby Franklin, who showed what he could do with a song and some dance steps. The Ninjas, dancing in half-lit smoke, created a kind of magic. (Set design, Bradd Baskin; lighting design, Christinea Saylor; costume design, Joanna H. Clay.)

(Also featuring Joanna H. Clay and Shira Zimbeck.)

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2002 John Chatterton