note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
Brian Tuttle is a dynamo. He writes. He directs. He does the lights. He runs the company. That company is called ll:ll and their mission is to explore the world from the twenty-something perspective. Tuttle’s brand new spy play, PANOPLY, certainly shouts out a message loud and clear: The world is a dangerous place for young men and women coming of age. In no uncertain terms, Tuttle tells his contemporaries not to go to Europe, not to trust their parents, Africans, Arabs or the French. (The Spanish are evidently OK!)
The adventure story begins with short movie cuts, introducing us to a dozen or so players, two or three at a time, who will eventually come together but until their paths cross, it’s darn frustrating to keep them straight. The characters are all one-dimensional with the exception of Murray Wheeler’s dastardly Halliburton exec. He’s the only character who gets a back story, which is quite curious because clearly he is not the hero of the story---although who is, I couldn’t tell you. There are several candidates. In fact, there are enough story lines for three scripts: The affable spy (Evan Quinlan) who smuggles a gorgeous Syrian woman (Katarina Abri) out of Tangier…or the woman with fear of flying (Jenn Pici) who overcomes her phobia to try and save her deported and kidnapped friend (Darshan Pandya)…or the reckless American students (Kaytie Dowcett and Merissa Czyz) who hook up with anyone in Europe who can show them a good time.
The explosive ending(s) cry “movie” as does the graphic on stage violence. If this were a movie, I might think that two scenes (the package arrival and its origin) were spliced by mistake out of sequence. Since it’s a stage play, we’re left to wonder why the scenes are reversed when none of the other scenes are.
Ordinarily a director might tell a writer that there are too many short scenes in which nothing happens but a phone call (and by the way, I have trouble getting cell reception from Boston to Newton so how can these people be calling the U.S. from Morocco without any problems?)…or suggest that several repetitive scenes could be cut…or suggest that the play end with the character that began it. Since the director is also the writer, that conversation isn’t going to happen. So here I am to make this panoply of suggestions. There is one thing I wouldn’t change and that’s Kadi Dooley’s gorgeous map filled set.