Silver Spring Stage Dimly Perceived Threats to the SystemBy Laura & Mike Clark • Mar 13th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Silver Spring Stage production of Dimly Perceived Threats to the System [MP3 7:33 2.2MB].
Mike: Dimly Perceived Threats to the System is a play by Jon Klein. It focuses on the state of the family in 1990’s America. You’ve got lots of miscommunication and non communication between the different family members. The show includes such problems as a dying parent. You”ve got problems between spouses. There are miscommunications between the spouses and different fantasies between each family member. The child is in therapy at school with a school therapist. A lot of unspoken dreams are happening and nobody knows exactly what it means to be part of a family. This is a tough look at how families work and don’t work.
Laura: I thought this show did take a realistic look at the family. Not only in the 1990’s, but also today. There is still a lot of miscommunication that can go on. Especially having a teenager in the house can provide all kinds of miscommunication and feelings that sometimes take a lifetime to resolve. I thought it was a good show. It was a deep show. It will make you think and provide for a lot of good discussion for the trip home.
Mike: This show did touch on a lot of adult themes: adultery, sex education, vegetarianism. Accepting of others whatever they believe or don’t believe. I thought Silver Spring did a really good job with his show. It kept moving a long quite well. The show was about two hours and fifteen minutes long with one intermission.
Laura: The mother, Marlys Hauser, was played by Karen Kellner. She came out at the beginning and was talking to a pretend audience about how to make a company more efficient. She was a management consultant. Trying to get the company back into shape running effectively. Also trying to balance a home life that was falling apart.
Mike: Josh Hauser was played by Ted Schneider. He was a middle aged man kind of stuck in a rut in his marriage to Marlys. He was a documentary filmmaker. Early on we meet his producer, Megan. They enter into an adulterous affair. She didn’t have a problem with it, but he did because he knew what was going to be happening. The producer, Megan, didn’t really care because she had never met the wife or the child. It was interesting seeing the different dynamics of the relationships in the show.
Laura: The Hauser’s daughter, Christine, was played by Katie Keddell. She did a good job. She played the typical 16 year old teenager very well. Trying to be an individual as long as everybody else did the same thing. That was really funny.
Mike: Mr. Sykes was Christine’s therapist at school. She had an act of rebellion early on that causes her to be sent to therapy. Her parents ended up coming in as well. He was very comfortable as the counselor figure for Christine and the Hauser family. He had several good scenes trying to go into the psyche of the different members of the Hauser family. He even got pulled into a few of the fantasies. Seeing him try to explain the problems with the Hauser family when he was even contributing to some of those problems was amusing.
Laura: Dr. Grey was played by Kelli Biggs. Dr. Grey was the doctor treating Josh’s mother in the hospital. Even though you never saw Josh’s mother, it was implied through various scenes that she was not doing well. One of the neat things that Kelli Biggs did at certain points she would become Josh’s mother. Those were really funny scenes. She stooped over and I would have sworn her hair turned gray. Her voice changed, her mannerisms changed. Everything changed. It was really well done.
Mike: Megan, Josh’s producer for the documentary he was making on the family was played by Elizabeth Yates. She was the free spirit. Very carefree in what was going on in life. She was happy because she had her cat at home. That was all that really mattered to her. She didn’t mind disrupting his family since she had never met any of his family before. She would come in at times through fantasy and through the relationship at the film office. She did a pretty good job with that. The scene in the park where she did meet the family went over very well. It segued into a fantasy that we’ll talk about in a few minutes. I liked how she did those scenes. It went very well.
Laura: There was one set, but there were four sections of the stage. You have the section that was the producer’s and Josh’s office. There was a section that was a kitchen area. Then you had the section that was the office of the school psychologist where he and Christine and sometimes the Hausers had meetings. Then you had a front section that represented the hospital where Josh’s mother was staying. You kind of got the idea of what section you were in by the lighting effects.
Mike: There were a total of 20 scenes in the show. To avoid having to waste time by moving the entire set around, they simply had the entire stage set up for all the different scenes. Then they used lights to differentiate the different scenes. That was very effective. At the beginning of each scene the actors would appear at the back of the stage and take a couple seconds’ pause and look out at the audience. Then they would move over into their scene. That worked very effectively for switching between scenes.
Laura: The Set Designer, Sound Designer, and Lighting Designer were all done by Brandon R. McWilliams. Did a very effective job of that when a fantasy scene was taking place. When the disco ball would come down you had a fantasy scene that kind of indicated what the person or people wanted to see happen. Something interesting was at the final scene. Was that a fantasy scene or was that real?
Mike: The show jumped around a lot between fantasy and realism. There were a couple times I looked up to see if the ball was spinning. It wasn’t, so that meant that scene was really happening.
Laura: Dimly Perceived Threats to the System is playing through March 18th, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 at the Woodmoor Shopping Center in Silver Spring Maryland.
Mike: This is a recommended show. I think you’ll, not necessarily enjoy the show, but you’ll be drawn into the story and it really will make you think about what is even the definition of family. Do recommend. There is a lot of adult situations and adult language. Would not recommend it for anything less than a mature high schooler.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1890.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.