Somewhat Recommended ** The Neofuturists have been around since 1992, doing fun and innovative things, and have even managed a pay as you can night on Thursday. Consequently, I hate writing a bad review, but I didn’t enjoy any aspect of RedLetter. It suffers from a lack of any clear plot, and what we do hear and see is scattered and meaningless. The disunity of the plot is matched only by the markedly different performance styles, perhaps even different performance genres. Lisa Buscani (the characters “play themselves”) had the most charisma and presence of any ensemble member, but both her performance and script (she also wrote the play) failed to deliver on her assets as an actress.
The story is so bizarre and fragmented (but not in a post-modern way) that it is hard even to summarize. At times, Lisa seemed like a professor, at other times a mentor, leading a newsroom, but at times her students, or colleagues, did blogging. I was totally lost and I think that had to do more with the script than with my powers of observation and concentration. Sometimes, the characters talked about their personal lives, and often it’s not quite clear where they are. The most affecting scene represented rumor on the internet in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the very real human damage it caused—it was the only sequence that stuck in the memory afterword.
Throughout it, Trevor Dawkins pretends to be his father who had been a respected journalist throughout most of the play, and apparently goes mad, but despite an incredibly energetic performance, he fails to deliver any sense of suffering or danger, despite pulling somebody out of the audience to do cocaine with him (or rather a prop representing cocaine). Unfortunately, there is nothing interesting, or even authentic, about watching someone go mad without suffering or danger—it just looks ridiculous. It ended up looking like a really weird and rather earnest improvised skit in the middle of the play. There just wasn’t anything professional about the production, rather like the journalist the show is trying to indict. The technical aspects were likewise unimpressive. Lighting (Mike Durst) exacerbated the problems and while Paul Deziel’s huge “Projection and Media” screen should have been impressive given that it was quite a technical feat, but it just looked like anything else in the play.
“Redletter” is playing at the NeoFuturioun located at 5153 W. Ashland.
Show Type: Comedy/Drama
Box Office: 773-275-5255
to see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Redletter”