Review By Marcina Zaccaria . . .
When we have an opposing view, where is the possibility for free speech? In Hindsight, Actress and Playwright Alix Sobler asks us to consider a post-World War II America where messages are thrown around so similarly that fairness was almost an impossibility.
The Playwright explains, in depth, that The Fairness Doctrine, publicized first by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, provides Americans with opposing views or different sides of the truth. Time traveling into 1987, we witness The Fairness Doctrine’s success and failure in the Reagan era.
Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, is loved in this throwback. During his administration, charismatic figures run the FCC. In 1987, Cosby was on TV and messages flowed fast and furious through cable into our homes. Speaking past shoulder pads and fancy words like de-regulation, leaders impressed one another. The Playwright reveals that the 80s were a pivotal decade where power lines began to shift. Affluent lifestyles exhibited by Americans of every color were first presented, while Canadians touted that they have something better like universal healthcare.
Both a participant and an observer, the Playwright, bounds in and out of the worlds she creates, involving the live audience in something like a “continuous present”. Looking throughout time, we consider whether there’s something unfathomable about a government that craves a broad, glossy, and dynamic world that re-invents traditional notions of family and home. Meanwhile, moments of levity might occur at every family dinner. So much can happen in sync over a simple meal at Thanksgiving. Director Aaron Rossini builds connections, layering one image on top of another, asking us to appreciate a fine debate even through such grandiosity.
Beyond melodrama and propaganda, the members of Fault Line Theatre believe in inclusion. They appreciate the indisputable fact that we have to look at the inadequacies of the past to find the present. If we don’t look back, we might never discover what kernels of socialistic idealism were sparked when. The earnest Playwright asks that we find magic to light up space. We’ll draw the line at the heavens, so that we’re no longer in the dark. If information can light up our world so that we are not excluded, then perhaps, we can find our true connection to each other after post-Capitalist glory.
If we include Washington, we might feel more like E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, rather than an average New Yorker, living in Inwood, finding connection in the Village. Socialism may have been a dirty word in the go-go 80s, yet we can’t help to still get that warm feeling when we connect. Here’s to Fault Line Theatre for realizing that through the complexity of communication and information exchange, debate might continue to warm the heart-light.
Hindsight is running through October 23 at the Paradise Factory, 64 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. www.faultlinetheatre.org
Photos: Santiago Felipe