Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Judy or What Is It Like to be a Puppet?"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Joe Coyne


" Judy or What Is It Like to be a Puppet?""

By Tom Sgouros

Lighting Design by Holly Ratafia
Stage Manager Bronwyn Dunston

Tom.....................................Tom Sgouros
Judy (voice only)...............Marilyn Dubois


The tag line for the play is, "If one built a robot smart enough to do the dishes, would that robot be smart enough to find the dishes boring?" It would be hard to find this play boring, but more zip in the presentation would avoid any comparison. This inventive, 55 minute diversion has trouble maintaining interest, import or excitement for too much of the short time it is delivered.

Judy is not so much a puppet as a talkative industrial robot under consideration for downsizing. Centered around a game of chess, not well woven into the story, are discussions of life and death and death as a power turnoff. The dialogue is not all that profound, but poignant when delivered from a cybergal with a whine who back talks to her creator. There are exploratory tastes of what it is like to be alive, to see with an inner vision, to not be redundant. Too much bishop to knight seven or eleven with less development of the perceived attack: how is modern technology going to deal with us.

Some of the best parts are tangents: on Tom and Judy's recognition they are in a play limited by a script and their discussion and comments on theater and technology.

As an inventive story with a more inventive twist, I see this production as a development round, still a bit unfocused; not yet the "Android Dinner" of deeper interest and meaning.

In the Press Night performance, Judy's timing was off (the recorded voice of Marilyn Dubois) as she was talking out of turn. Tweaking of the robot's innards will better the interplay over the performance period. Also the slide show of Judy's birth moments was hard to see; projected too far from the audience with weakened images.

This is Tom's eighth solo show with Perishable and "Judy" is to run through January 16th. Tickets are $6 to $10

J. Coyne
January 6, 2000


" Judy or What Is It Like to be a Puppet?"" (till 16 January)
PERISHABLE THEATRE
95 Empire Street, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
(401)331-2695

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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