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Odessa

ensemble theatre · the illyrian players · Ages 16+ · flashing lights · world premiere · United States

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JOSEPH MCMAHON certified reviewer June 06, 2014
Man, this was weird. like WEIRD weird, but in a good way. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I still think it's worth rolling the dice and checking it out. Even though I started off unsure of whether I was going to like the piece, I spent the entire show engaged, waiting to see what was going to happen next. If you're familiar with the computer game series Fallout, this is exactly the sort of story you'd expect to come across while playing. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, prepare yourself for some crazy. Joanna Rose Bateman did an excellent job as the lead character, and Bruce Lemor Jr. and Bethany Esfandiari were both quite good as well. And both the lighting and sound did a great job of furthering the mood crea... full review
MADISON SHEPARD June 15, 2014
tagged as: sex · costumes · Bjork · clean · dust · plants · lighting
Great lighting...Super innovative and evocative. Pretty strong performances all around, though the girl playing Alice was the strongest of the three. Strong storytelling all around, though. I loved how all of them seemed to be on the same page in terms of the World they were in. I will say that the use of Bjork's music throughout was a little bit distracting for me but that's because I'm a fan of her work. I think if I wasn't, I would have really love it. Pro tip: sit in the front unless you want to miss the bulk of the play because a lot of it is staged on the ground and the seating is raised.... full review
DANA LEIGH LYMAN June 16, 2014
Wow, wow, wow! Flawlessly directed, produced and performed, this show is an absolutely incredible experience. From the moment you walk in you are transported into ODESSA's world and it does not let you go until the very end... if then. This show is still lingering with me and I think will always have a special place in my heart. The performances are well-crafted and dynamic. Joanna Bateman is especially captivating as Alice. She had me laughing and grinning and then tearing up within seconds and I was blown away by her nonstop commitment, she absolutely lives this role onstage and her performance fills the space of the show with its equally endearing and unnerving energy. Carly Weckstein has directed a show with a wild but perfected e... full review
RACHEL ROSENBLOOM June 18, 2014
tagged as: Raw · real · language · voice · Full · Sex-Postitive
If you're looking for a show that makes you think and work without exhausting you, this is one to see. Odessa takes the audience so far into the post-apocolyptic world that language seems to have transformed back to a primal nature. We watch as three characters intertwine the things you need to live (water, shelter) with their need for something to live for. Joanna Bateman, Bruce Lemon Jr. and Bethany Esfandiari fully embody in voice, body and soul this need. You land right into their world and are happy to be there (at least for 1 hour), even though it's hot and dark in that bunker. This show is not only about what we see, but heavily makes you think about what is left unseen, the time that has passed between scenes. So worth seeing! ... full review
MICHAL SINNOTT June 19, 2014
Pinter meets Tennessee Williams meets Mad Max. This is a fun and twisted allegory on the perils of Darwinian survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Joanna Rose Bateman is wonderful as the innocence lost Alice. Bruce A. Lemon Jr. gives a solid performance as the rough around the edges but tragically faithful Cliff. And Bethany Esfandiari's performance as ruthless survivor Preacher is strong. Corwin Evan's imaginative reimagining of the plants in the form of string lights adds a playful and otherworldly dimension, as does the Tom Waits / Bjork inspired sound design. Director Carly D. Weckstein always turns out a tight, original, and entertaining production. McClain's writing is poetic, nuanced, and sometimes tender, but in the end I long... full review
NICOLE CRAIG certified reviewer June 21, 2014
Having read the play beforehand, I feel this show overall looks better on the page than it does on stage. That's not to say I didn't enjoy many of the artistic touches, such as using white christmas light strings to represent the plant vines and isolated lighting that the actors could access and use when needed. Also having the music of Bjork as the main soundtrack was a brilliant choice as it set a great tone and mood for the show. However, I felt some of the transitions from one scene to the next were messy and confusing. It should be made clear the purpose of a character leaving and/ or returning to the stage and why. I felt some of that got lost as the music and lighting seemed to be more important at times. To me, Joanna Bateman as ... full review
BEAU SMITH certified reviewer June 14, 2014
You know how a lot of horror films like to put an innocent piece of activity, say a music box or a child singing, and put that against horrible events and imagery to give a feeling of dread and uncertainty? Odessa made me feel like that the whole time, while still finding moments of laughter and genuine joy. Post apocalyptic stuff always makes me wary since everyone always seems to go in the same direction with that sort of thing, but Odessa does a good job of establishing a viewpoint and a world while still preserving a sense of horrible mystery that lasts all the way to its logical, maybe hopeful, maybe sickening ending. Don't want to give too much away since the show is all about being shoved gently but relentlessly down a hall... full review
ENCI BOX certified reviewer June 07, 2014
This show has a very strong script with strong characters. Unfortunately when I saw this production on opening night, the characters seemed to all be insane, neurotic, mean, and dumb, instead of bringing out each persons vulnerability, their fears, their wants, and their needs. I wanted to care for them but I didn't. The chemistry between Cliff and Alice was completely missing. They were at each others throats from beginning to end, yelling at each other, even when they both wanted to devour each other. Alice's character was supposed to be "sweet, dumb, and weak" but the sweetness was completely missing as was her weakness. She was a strong, crazy woman from the beginning. Hard to believe a man would fall for a woman like that (not even ... full review
STEVE MADAR certified reviewer June 23, 2014
At the end of civilization, when everything is running down, people will do anything they can to find a connection with another person, plant or animal. Set in an underground bunker below an inhospitable world, Alice and Cliff try to fulfill each other's needs where each is one another's last hope, all while attempting to sustain themselves with cans of Clean, when a stranger named Preacher is brought in to their circle and disrupts their functional dysfunction. Carly Weckstein does a great job creating the heat and post apocalyptic clausterphobia of this show, while Bruce Lemon and Bethany Esfandiari offer two sides of the opportunistic coin. The force of the show comes from Joanna Bateman's muscular tenderness that transforms her internal... full review
NINA HARADA certified reviewer June 10, 2014
Odessa is such a fun piece of theatre. I loved being transformed into this post-apocalyptic world with a cast of characters who are just trying to survive. The performances were fantastic. I especially loved watching Bethany play the take-no-bullshit Preacher. I only wish the play delved a little deeper into the consequences of the power struggles the three characters experience as they navigate this strange world where there isn't much left of anything. ... full review

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