photo: Tyler Griffin Hicks-Wright
Succinctly moving multiple characters through concurrent storylines under a strong overarching socio-political theme, August Schulenburg's new play often recalls quintessential Robert Altman films in its dynamic narrative focus and cohering thematic purposefulness. Between stretches of pointed narration that is simultaneously seductive and dangerous in tone, we see ten characters move through the turbulence of the 1960's. Although some find themselves propelled to extraordinary action - one joins the Black Panthers, another joins a religious cult - the play conveys the feeling of ordinary people whose lives are re-shaped by the promise of the times. The characters, succinctly written and brought to vivid life by this ensemble under Heather Cohn's direction, are easy to relate to, making the play's message all the more unsettling. The ambitious, intellectually provocative and beautifully realized play does what theatre too rarely does - it leaves you thinking about your life, your times, your choices.