Monday, February 11, 2013

“Communicating Doors”: A Thrilling Sci-fi Comedy

Dim blue lights slowly light up the room. A tall man stands facing away from the audience; in the blue light only his imposing silhouette is visible. The eerie, foreboding moment is quickly broken when the lights come up and the doorbell rings—a doorbell that is a suave mechanical voice announcing, “The female you requested has arrived.” The man opens the door to a woman with classy, pink hair, bare legs, and a black exotic jacket that reaches her mid-thigh swinging a leather whip and dancing in place.

These first two minutes of “Communicating Doors” juxtaposes eerie evil with comedy, setting the tone for the rest of the show: it is a show that deals with evil acts and serious situations, but using comedy makes them hilarious and lighthearted; it is a show that makes murder, attempted murder, and death entertaining through wit and slapstick comedy without dehumanizing the characters.

The play follows of three women across time—the pink-haired, whip-bearing, 2033 zany dominatrix, Phoebe (Talia Grzelewski), the 1993 regal Ruella (Alexandria Pelletier), and the cute Jessica of 1973—who are all connected to the rich businessman Reece (Robert Clemence) and his conniving business partner and lifelong friend, Julian Goodman (David Lew Cooper). Together the women solve a mystery and face death, all the while making sly, witty, jokes and being hilarious.

The acting is stellar. Each character has a distinct, almost stereotypical personality and could easily be played as irritating and two-dimensional. Every actor, however, makes their character relatable and interesting. Grzelewski makes an outgoing and crude Phoebe hilarious and lovable. Pelletier makes the posh, buttoned-up Ruella intelligent and caring. Parsons makes the spoiled, dim Jessica entertaining and endearing. Each actor brings life to the two-dimensional characters by exaggerating their slightly stereotypical characteristics.

The set is well-made and elegant. The half-doors provide distinct rooms for the actors to maneuver within the set without blocking view for the audience. The simple furniture—a black leather couch, a coffee table—creates a timeless atmosphere that allow the characters to believably move through time. The colors on the set—mostly black and white—contrast each other in the same way comedy contrasts and complements serious situations of the story.

The characters make death lighthearted, almost mockable, yet still suspenseful. When the three women struggle for life toward the end, Jessica stops to worry about her nails, before getting back to her literal life struggle. This combination of the seriousness of death and wacky humor that can overshadow imminent danger are what make this show spectacular. It simultaneously keeps the audience on their toes as a sci-fi thriller when the imposing villain is about to attack and has them relaxing in their chair and chuckling at Ruella’s very British gasp of shock or Phoebe’s fearful pelvic-thrust.

No comments:

Post a Comment