Tuesday, January 12, 2010

9. Smudge

Smudge is the first Women's Project show I haven't enjoyed in quite a while, and that's because I just don't believe it. I've no problem with Rachel Axler creating a one-eyed, one-tailed "baby" to stand in as a metaphor that's as equally abstracted as the modern marriage, nor in her using this nightmare scenario to explore the deep-seated parental fears of everyman Nick (Greg Keller) and everywoman Colby (Cassie Beck). But I do have a problem with Axler deciding to keep things smudged--primarily, choosing to ignore whether or not the baby is real (Pam MacKinnon's grounded direction doesn't help with this--it needs far more whimsy and terror), but also blandly mixing in a supertheme (the nature of probability--Nick's job at the census bureau--and how it factors into "love"), and taking the cheap road of throwing in a potential affair between Colby and Nick's sitcom brother, Pete (Brian Sgambati). The writing's also inconsistent and lazily comic: a drama that knows it isn't emotionally truthful enough to be a drama, and so attempts to pass itself off as a comedy instead. The smudge that's born in Smudge ends up being the play itself, not the baby within it.

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