Occupation

ensemble theatre · the foundry theatre works · Ages 15+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by ELLEN DOSTAL
June 14, 2016 · original article

What I liked

OCCUPATION’s message packs a powerful punch. It does take some time to orient yourself to the Brechtian style of the piece, with its repetitious language and didactic approach to the storytelling. Rather than trying to make sense of every piece of information as it is given, take it in as a whole. What appears cryptic at first will be made clear by the end of the play and when all those pieces align, the resulting picture is one that will make you think long and hard about the consequences of our actions today.

Marcelline’s reinvented version of Mother Nature embodies a reverence for her post that is as comforting as it is necessary to this time while Jenny Ashe’s (Tattoo Mother) steadfast determination becomes the center around which the others converge. Weary to the bone, Ashe soldiers on in service to a heartbreaking mission. She is our narrator, of sorts, and it is through her taut performance and connection to the others that this world starts to make sense.

Olivia Powell (Tap Dance Daughter) lends a sad touch of the absurd, tap dancing around the stage in a sequined recital costume, and a twilight zone revelation about Monica Baker’s Delivery Daughter and Brynn Alexander’s Patriot Mother will drastically change the future for them both.

An increasingly percussive soundscape by Takeshi Miyahiro underscores the drama, which also includes projected videos of the past and the haunting refrain of “Que Sera, Sera” as a theme song. Merri Biechler’s OCCUPATION is a sobering look at the future. One hopes there is time to divert its course.

What I didn't like

My overall impression

Deftly directed by David Robinson and produced by Foundry Theatre Works, this disturbing vision of a possible American future is a provocative commentary on the fallout of war.

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