By Marcina Zaccaria
Androids and discussion of next generation are featured in John Kaplan’s Are We Human, performed at this year’s Ice Factory Festival.
Director Margarett Perry (Paloma, One Slight Hitch), captures the spirit of the 23rd Annual OBIE Award-winning Ice Factory Festival, bringing in stellar visuals from Scenic and Lighting Designer David L. Arsenault. This futuristic drama, inspired by the work of James Baldwin, maintains the verve of downtown.
With the energy of a broad musical, Rosy, Violet, Guy, Ethan, and Mr. Algorithm bound across the stage. Body parts and fluids of many colors are all part of the sci-fi world. At the slaughterhouse, ankles, hands, and legs wind up at the steely chopping table. Silver body suits, designed by Amanda Aiken, make for some of the theatrical distraction in this zany environment. On a stage fit for Ziggy Stardust, it doesn’t have any doom and gloom of the apocalypse. The red, green, and yellow set brightens as the actors maintain their sense of humor and their sculptural integrity. Moment by moment, the top-notch cast stumbles over gleeful realizations about romance and bar tending. It is – after all – what makes us human.
It’s clear that Playwright John Kaplan, who is also a Gestalt psychotherapist, loves experimental theater. Are We Human features something of a dreamscape rather than a linear plot, moving forward with dynamic action and intention. However, it asks some great questions about who the Creator is and what is real. It’s sometimes a laborious dialectic, but it’s provocative enough to cure the Summertime doldrums.
Are we Human ran until Thursday, July 7 at 7PM at New Ohio Theatre, located at 154 Christopher St., in New York City. For more information about the Ice Factory Festival, you can visit http://www.NewOhioTheatre.org.
Photos: Benjamin Heller