Directed by Paul Cosca
Produced by Brikenbrak Theatre Project
At Dream Theatre, Chicago
World premiere drama too intense for its own good
Playwright Jeremy Menelseoglu’s world premiere drama, Alligator, is a vague, unfocused and underwritten piece. Director Paul Cosca has his actors over playing every scene that usually ends up with one or more of the players screaming their lungs out. Add the strange Southwestern drawl (think Grapes of Wrath) from a swampy area with alligators-location? And you have a assortment of contemporary low class uneducated folks trying to cope with their foibles.
Among the things that made this work a long 80 minutes are: the entire cast mostly spoke their dialogue in such a fast pace with their words running together that it was hard to understand much of it especially with that Southern drawl. What has happened to enunciating? Southern folks speak slowly – they do not machine gun their speech even when upset.
Next, the short scenes and the constant blackouts were a distraction. Why contemporary playwrights use that screen play devise baffles me.
Why must every scene end with yelling and screaming? I could see how dysfunctional Velvet( Claire Kander) was after being abused by her father but why was her brother, Lone (Graham Jenkins) so explosive? One moment her was rational, the next he went into a violent rage. We never know why.
After many violent scenes and much yelling, the play ends on an upbeat, hopeful one that finds that love ultimately wins despite the abuse life hands out. Ha? After all the cutting and nightmares, weeks later Velvet is on her way toward recovery. Really?
I found this play underwritten and the decision to play everyone over the top made for a tedious and noisy evening of theatre. I don’t think this play is stage worthy not is the production.
At Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th Street, Chicago, IL, tickets $15, Monday & Tuesdays at 8 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 10:30 pm, running time is 80 minutes without intermission.