OutoftheBlackBox Theatre BustedBy Michael Clark • Jul 13th, 2010 • Category: Fringe, Reviews
The Official Description: In spite of divorce, kids, job hunting, internet social media sites and other modern age distractions, Joan struggles for her artistic self-expression. When procrastination threatens her creativity, sanity and maybe her script, Joan’s life takes a sudden, comic twist.
What You’ll Like: Watching Joan (Rachel Duda) struggle to write a play will be familiar to anyone who has ever tried to create something under a deadline (even if the deadline is self-imposed by the ScriptFrenzy project). Distractions abound, and it seemed all of them found their way into Joan’s apartment. Jessie Dulaney as Sprite was too cheerful, although I liked the idea of having Joan argue about her screenplay with someone as a physical presence rather than just a voice coming from above.
The ensemble (Joshua Dixon, Sharsse Jackson, Jocelyn Jill Meyer, Kofi Owusu) played a multitude of characters, from Facebook avatars to friends, family, and coworkers. Many characters were on stage very briefly, but the members of the ensemble made each character real, with unique individual traits.
What You Won’t: Sprite breaking the fourth wall to address the audience didn’t feel right. Should Joan have been able to see us? to interact with us? Should her husband have been able to see Sprite? It also seemed that Joan left the stage a lot, to change costumes or to pick up props. The play felt very crowded, with unnecessary scenes, such as Joan’s husband coming over to pick a fight about Joan’s unemployment status (hello – it takes longer than three weeks to find a job, especially in today’s economy!) The ending was anti-climactic, I was expecting all the pieces to come together, and Joan’s life to suddenly make sense entirely (which would not have been realistic, but then again, having Sprite as a character isn’t realistic either).
Overall: The script still needs work, either to fill in more details of some of the characters and relationships that were introduced to create a full-length play, or areas need to be cut to focus in on Joan’s journey to become a writer to make the play 45-60 minutes long.
- Joan: Rachel Duda
- Sprite: Jessie Dulaney
- Ensemble: Joshua Dixon, Sharsse Jackson, Jocelyn Jill Meyer, Kofi Owusu
- Understudies: Sharrise Jackson (Joan), Jocelyn Jill Meyer (Sprite)
- Director/Producer: Betsy Marks Delaney
- Assistant Director/Sound Operator: Trix Whitehall
- Stage Manager: Ashley Jones
- Lighting Designer: Matthew Klein
- Sound Designer: A. Martin Gear
- Makeup Designer: Barbara Jackson Jewell
- Set/Costume/Props Design; Archival Videography; Logo/Publications Design: Betsy Marks Delaney
Disclaimer: Capital Fringe provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review. Busted’s playwright is a writer for ShowBizRadio, but I don’t think that affected my thoughts of the show.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5267.