avantgardner · Ages 13+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 12, 2022 theatre theater podcast
tagged as: extreme · ridiculous · political · satire

What I liked

The writer obviously has a firm grasp on the times; seamlessly stringing common political memes and cliches that have become so prevalent since 2016. Rachael Drummond is a stand out among the cast of passionate performers, playing a “Karen” who would be right at home on a reality tv show.

What I didn't like

I think there is definitely a home for this at Hollywood Fringe, but I wonder if this would have the same affect in other parts of the country. A liberal leaning audience will be on the correct side of it, but is there anything to be learned from it for someone on the other end? For what it’s trying to do the run time could definitely be shorter. Everything it is saying has been said by 20 minutes into the script. Fleshing out the characters and not relying on obvious liberal pandering could actually make this something worth taking beyond Fringe Fest. The plot and relationships often get confusing and there is a good amount of trimming to be done.

My overall impression

I attended this show as an adjudicator for the Theatre Theater Playwright Award, so I’ll be focusing mainly on the writing of the piece in this review.

Playwright Emma Gardener has taken the collective trauma of America and twisted it into satire.
When a group of insurrectionists on January 6th finally find Nancy Pelosi’s office they are met by her semi-liberal assistant and plenty of confusion. The audience was with the show right away and there was plenty of laughter and guffaw as we were bombarded with obnoxious political sound-bites that we’ve come to know well the past few years.
The first 20 minutes really chug, and we get the joke right away. The back half however did leave me wondering who the play was for. Are we watching to make fun of insurrectionists? Or to challenge them? Maybe even humanize them. There are brief attempts at each that never fully incubate.
One line in particular, which got a solid laugh from the audience, may sum up the play best.
After being told “Mike Pence is white and we still wanted to hang him!” the tour guide states, “I clearly missed the nuance here.”
Nuance is definitely not the intention of this play, however I wonder if the playwright, who is adept at quick and witty comedy, could find just a tad… a tiny morsel of truth to give us some meat to bite into.
Very fun. Well performed. Well directed. It does feel as though the actors have been given a lot of permission to improvise. Some of it sticks out like a sore thumb. Some of it really works.
All and all a good audience experience. Check this one out if you need to laugh at the news instead of cry.

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