Theatre Mirror Reviews - "live hostage crisis"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Larry Stark


"live hostage crisis"

by The Essayons Theatre Company Ensemble

Video by Jim Barnes
Sound And Music by Haddon Kime
Costumes by Charles Snipe
Stage Manager Kathryn Masters

Christine................Amanda Good
Alice/Alice..........Catherine Reulet
Adaline.................Rebecca Mason
Walter....................Art Hennessey
Jack...........................Jason Reulet
Organizer/Terrorist.......Jim Barnes
PLL Terrorist................Matt Hillas
Voices...Haddon Kime & Ensemble

This multi-media theatrical romp is the most ridiculous thing I've seen all year, and I loved it. There are projections of forest to define one scene, projected (and occasionally pixillated) people who interact with live actors, taped voices, test-patterns, Emergency Broadcast System beeps, and simulated interactive web-cam sessions --- plus hilariously trenchant comments on contemporary society, all invented by improvisations and then scripted, and presented in a three-quarter-thrust living-room setting. It defies description, and I'll bet there's a prize if I can outline the skrewball plot anywhere near accurately.

Christine (Amanda Good), Alice (Catherine Reulet) and Adaline (Rebecca Mason) all work for a merger-hungry megacorporation ("Well, yes, world domination is the ultimate goal, actually"). Christine spends eighty percent of her life in meetings and is on The Fast track, while Alice talks to her projected alter-ego, has stopped reading her e-mail, and kicks pigeons ("I love animals; it's particular species I hate, and pigeons are so fat they look like footballs"). Adaline quits technical writing to Write, never goes out, has groceries delivered by Jack, and goes on the internet via web-cam ("I'm on twenty-four/seven, and now so are you") to meet people via e-mail.

Walter (Art Hennessey) and Jack (Jason Reulet) actually work for the now replaced Emergency Broadcast Service, intending to broadcast individual messages of personal crises to every human being ("Your Volvo needs maintenance"), and surveil Adaline because she may be "dangerous". Walter falls for Adaline, but she falls for her "delivery boy" Jack.

Christine's corporation intends a take-over that will result in a clear-cutting of Jack's "happy place", but Alice as merger manager can frustrate it with an avalanche of spurious statistics, even though it will prevent Christine's break through the glass ceiling. Adaline earns her grocery money stuffing envelopes with the corporation's letters announcing the merger and her "delivery boy" tries to frustrate it by rewriting the letters and including garbage in the envelopes instead.

A PPL terrorist (Matt Hillas) replaces Christine's palm-top with a video and then, as a projection, gleefully erases her past, present, and future data, leaving her without a script to live by and, somehow, trussed up in her pyjamas, though an "invisible" black-clad Japanese stage-hand dials (yes, it's a Rotary Phone!) for her, but because she hasn't a touch-tone phone her party dismisses her as irrelevant.

Adaline is innocently shy and smokily sexy in equal measure, attracting a series of mis-matching e-mail messages, attracting Walter, and dancing in different tempos with three black-clad Japanese stage-hands. Alice argues with her projected alter-ego, who wears a long blonde wig and encourages her to do one good thing, which she does to end the show. And that's.....
Oh damn, I forgot all about the reports that hijackers took over a hangar and held five U.S. Post Office mail planes hostage ... but I can't remember why that fit into this rigorously, logically scripted plot. You'll just have to see it for yourself to find out what I've missed. The whole thing will take about an hour and forty-five minutes and astound and astonish you by its unexpected inventiveness.

Love,
===Anon.


"Live Hostage Crisis"
ESSAYONS THEATRE COMPANY
Lehman Hall, Harvard Yard, CAMBRIDGE
(617)496-3474

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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