Sunday, October 14, 2007
I've been told that if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all. But because I like Collaborationtown so much (The Catharsis of Pathos and, to a degree, 6969), I want to clear the air about their horrible new play (with music!), Townville! That hokeyness, with the swing-open cardboard sets, the bright color-coordinated wardrobe, the high-pitched voices, and the smiles, that's all intentional. All the actors involved, in case you can't tell, are capable of real emotion, like Boo Killebrew. But the show is so busy satirizing something -- I guess it's to do with the slow slip of America into totalitarianism? -- that there's no truth for the actors to latch onto, just jokes, very very bad, cheap jokes. The direction, by Matthew Hopkins and Ryan Purcell, is at least consistent, and sustains the image of a sparkling yet sinister commune, where everyone is happy, or else. But the plot, pieced together by the company, just jumps from point to point, recycling the same character jokes (how many times must we watch Geoffrey Decas belittle TJ Witham?) in an effort to hold out long enough to make meaning appear. Hint: when your show within a show is avant-garde, and the show itself has musical numbers, yet is not a musical, reason is not likely to come riding in on a white horse.