Arts & Events
I’m not usually a fan of absurdism or magical realism, but “CREVICE” by Lauren Yee is chock full of humor and enough info to keep you guessing at what’s happening.
“CREVICE”-- now at IMPACT THEATRE at La Val’s on Euclid off Hearst in Berkeley—is a co-production with the esteemed PLAYGROUND. It is a wry, expressionistic look at the miasma in which the Millenial generation finds itself.
Upon entering the theatre, we see our heroine Liz in lying on the couch in her working class house, surrounded by used tissues and the detritus of either influenza or depression.
Recent Princeton grad Liz (Marissa Keltie) is unemployed, jilted, depressed, on medication, and sleeping on her mom’s sofa. Her actor brother (Timothy Redmond) on whom she relies is abandoning her to do Shakespeare on a cruise ship. Her best male friend (Reggie T. White) brings her supplies because she is unable to dislodge herself from the sofa. Her mom (Laura Jane Bailey*) is having an affair with a fellow (Jordan Winer) whose last name she doesn’t know, and the reverberations from the bedroom are most disquieting.
Reality vastly alters every time mom’s orgasmic rumblings shake the foundation. Whether out of a wish-fulfillment dream or the effects of the off-market “depression pills,” the rumblings open up a fissure—The Crevice—which opens into an underworld of “Life As It Should Be.” Like happy dreams with a foreboding periphery, soon everything turns to shit, often with LOL effects.
Desdemona Chang directs six performers of the same level of high talent. The staging is superb and uses every inch of the challenging La Val’s tiny stage. Ms. Chang skillfully solves the problem of the short scenes and the music and antics of the changes are funny and sustain the energy.
The set design by Alex Friedman with wallpaper and wainscoting and orange carpet immediately and convincingly takes you into the single-parent apartment of mom with talented and smart 20-somethings still living at home. The sound design by Colin Trevor sustains the humor and the tension as if it is another member of the ensemble.
A highlight of the show is a lurking Ninja played with extreme kung-fu grace and comedic touches by Kaitlin Muse.
This is the second premiere of Lauren Yee’s work by Impact—a few seasons ago, her “Ching Chong Chinaman” got superlative reviews.
Playground, helmed by Jim Kleinmann, has taken off like gang-busters lately, and we hope to see more co-productions with Impact whose talent and audience is apt for the hot, new Bay Area playwrights and the new generation of theatre-goers to which Impact speaks.
“CREVICE” by Lauren Yee
Directed by Desdemona Chang
Playing at La Val’s Pizza, 1834 Euclid, Berkeley
Thu, Fri, Sat through June 9
Set design by Alex Friedman, sound design by Colin Trevor, costumes by Ashley Rogers, lighting by Jax Steager, props by Tunuviel Luv; Elizabeth Durst, stage manager.
WITH: Laura Jane Bailey*, Marissa Keltie, Timothy Redmond, Reggie D. White, and Jordan Winer.
(*member, Actors Equity Association)
NOTE: Best of Playground is playing in SF at Thick House in the Potrero www.playground-sf.org
John A. McMullen II is a member of Bay Area Critics Circle, American Theatre Critics Association, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. E J Dunne edits.