The plays of UTD performance studies professor Thomas Riccio aren’t easy to follow. They’re not supposed to be. Riccio comes from a long line of contemporary writers — Harold Pinter to Erik Ehn, Richard Foreman to John O’Keefe — whose surreal approach avoids, or at least subverts, the conventions of linear storytelling.
Some People, the latest in his “Simulations” series, is another dollop of domestic disarray. A stranger enters the suburban home of a nuclear family and begins filming and narrating the stresses in their lives. Frank (Brad Hennigan) is addicted to television, his wife Morgan (Lori McCarty) to shopping. The consumer products she obsessively arranges speak to her.
The interloper (Mason York) projects a videotaped dream of Frank’s boyhood taunters and current neighbors criticizing him. Before the 90-minute show is over, the family’s Uncle Bill (Alex Nestor) emerges from a closet where he has been trapped since a game of hide-and-seek 18 years earlier. The air is thick with paranoia and panic.
Some People holds a funhouse mirror up to modern society. Vulgarity serves Riccio’s avant-garde vision as high seriousness mingles with crude nonsense. The production by Project X: Theatre for the Out of the Loop Festival at WaterTower Theatre is a multimedia affair that zips from one absurd moment to the next.
There’s a kind of resolution at the end of the play, but it’s the least satisfying part. If you can just sit back and enjoy the strangeness, if you don’t need to know what happened and why, Some People pays off in other ways.
Check out Lawson Taitte’s review in The Dallas Morning News.
Some People runs at 8 tonight and 2 p.m. Saturday at WaterTower Theatre in Addison and March 27-April 11 at the Green Zone.
Image courtesy WaterTower Theatre and Project X: Theatre.