IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot certify this reviewer attended a performances of this show because no ticket was purchased through this website or the producer has not verified they attended.
My overall impression
FULLDISCLOSURE: I am good friends with this play’s writer/director Soren Olsen. I was also privileged enough to witness the premiere of this piece at the University of Iowa a couple years ago.
Eggshell is a masters level course on physical theatre. Lost within the first few minutes of the piece is a complete language barrier (as far as I know, no one speaks fluent gibberish, save Frank, Gold, and Murph), and what is left is a study grounded in the connectivity of three unique individuals within a surrealist work setting. What Mr. Olsen delivers to the audience is a compelling case for the lost art of Grotowski Technique. Effortlessly the actors embody their characters, and so much of what is meant to be said is said through action. The truth can be seen in the character’s bodies, as should always be the case. Mr. Olsen’s play magnifies the importance of an actor’s ability to display the truth of their character through that character’s physical actions. Bravo for that.
Where this piece falls a little flat in my opinion is in the progression of the story itself. I understand that a story moves only so far without the convention of dialogue. I also understand that the purpose of the piece may not have been to convey a message about the universe so much as to convey the importance of physicality. However, if the latter be the case, I wonder if the audience capable and interested in receiving that message can ever be large enough for Eggshell to truly make an impact. While it is important for all people to be aware of the language displayed by the body, most humans do so instinctually, and only actors need be reminded that it is paramount those instincts remain at the forefront while onstage. How does this piece reach an audience greater than those already entrenched in the theatre community?
There are moments where Mr. Olsen’s work transcends the theatrical. There are messages about love, companionship, ingenuity, and friendship. There are messages about trust, creativity, and the importance of free-spiritedness. But, alas, most of these messages are offered in fleeting moments, as opposed to working as the groundwork for the universe of the play.
This piece is still a work in progress. However, it’s an exciting, and entertaining work in progress if I ever saw one. I would recommend Eggshell to anyone connected to the theatrical community (particularly, actors), as well as anyone interested in a night full of easy-coming laughs.