by Chris Davis
I first encountered Craig Lucas' Reckless when I was a student at Rhodes and it was fun to visit with this darkly comic, distinctly American answer to Candide in the place where I discovered it. And Candide for that matter.
David Jilg's gently surreal production effectively tells the story of Rachel a happy middle class wife and mother who goes on the run on Christmas Eve after her husband confesses he's hired a hit man to kill her. Reckless was a belated Christmas treat that looked so good it was easy to get lost in the visuals and not notice that everything started at a fever pitch and stayed there. This is a show about a woman who can't stop talking until, after enough horror, she finally does. The director almost has to be a conductor to pull it off. Still awfully glad I caught it before it went away. And sorry to have missed Hay Fever at the U of M, but Lucas' work arrives less often and I just haven't been in a Cowardy mood lately.
Church & State:
Java Cabana hosts a "new kind of political theater" that doesn't seem all that new. Or theatrical.
Checking into new artists is one of my favorite things and having communicated extensively with actor, writer and PhD candidate Brandon Chase Goldsmith I was excited to see The United Church of America, a show the author described as "a new kind of political theater." But Goldsmith's still-evolving effort didn't strike me as being particularly original. Instead of feeling like something new and exciting the UCoA came off like a mashup of "living newspapers," Boy Scout meetings and Sunday School that marries the spontaneity of a Catholic Mass to the excitement of a coach-taught civics class.
Goldsmith's has good ideas and only the best intentions. He says all he really wants to do is to start civil conversations between people who may or may not agree politically. But this would be helpfulness is swallowed up in religious ritual and lost in a text that sometimes sounds like the setup for a Nicholas Cage movie. Did I mention that Goldsmith is introduced to the audience as as Constitutional Prophet BCG? And that's just one of the ways this otherwise low-impact event managed to sail over the top.