Emily Deming - Short Plays St. John's 2016 - "Work in Progress"
September 27, 2016 - A (theatre) Festivus for the Rest of Us: Emily Reviews The Shorts of “St. John’s Shorts”
Work in Progress (***recommend***)
Written and Directed by Jana Gillis, this dynamic concept play moves from an engaging but (at first) inexplicable Act 1 of whirling figures in black enacting scenario after scenario of “boy meets girl”, through an intersection with a more familiar academic world populated by two flawed but coherent humans and then on to an ending too tidy to do the odd musicality and instinct of the first two acts justice. At its height, we find ourselves just grasping how these two worlds both function and feed off of each other, which gives all four characters more depth and scope simply by making our minds open to the possibilities in their life we are not ever shown. This is where it gives off Being John Malkovich energy. During the meat of the play, things clearly do make sense whether we can make sense of them or not and true surrealism is thrown in for style only not to hide an unformed plot. The acting recreates the energy of very good improv while holding the line towards some end goal, some enlightenment. It is too bad that enlightenment takes the form of “Love Actually” and folds up the intricate box of potentialities into one nice neat little package of “potential love interest.
***Full review of the St. John's Short Play Festival 2016 can be found here.