Patient: Scenes for a Green World
Legal Guardian: Playwright Michael Brayndick
Surname: On the Spot Theatre Company
Address: 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL 60614
Symptoms: shroomy, bloomy, gloomy
When I had arrived at the surgery room, I was immediately impressed by the warm, metro stage. I love economical sets. The welcome was classy with the internment camp exhibit that exposed the play's tragedy. Well received, I sat pretty with my 10 dollar Malbec. It was actually nine dollars, but I tipped the bartender for opening the bottle: bravo.
The patient's script was professionally refreshing. Consistently easy transitions and tasteful dialogue put most of my pet peeves on vacation. The writing for the extended sittings do not rot the characters into couch potatoes. I'm surprised the legal guardian could crank out a stationary but engaging piece of two acts. I began to grow upset, however, when the third hour came around; I was wondering if I should exeunt to put more money in the parking meter. The meandering needed a generous slice with the scalpel.
The actors are the main source of disconcertment. Ginger Leopoldo as Hiroko was animated, clear, but disconnected from her lines. She was so unattuned that she stilted the performance with a nonstop cheerful and conventional tone that derailed from the sobriety. She was darling, picturesque, and well picked for the optimistic Hiroko, but an inability to steer these virtues led to an overcompensation that eviscerated the script's poignant points. With half of Hiroko missing, the whole play's live depth sank.
The patient's writing shone through the soliloquys. Hiroko's first love and Dina's savior mushrooms were succinct stories in themselves. Liliana Mitchell was more faithful in bringing trauma to life authentically, but even she shared the occasional flaw of being unable to frown at critical times while discussing Dina's sad past. While one could say this was the disposition of their characters as battered women projecting defense mechanisms through smiles, I focused on the actors' delivery and remain unimpressed.
Even with these mortal wounds, the ladies were identical with their characters. Ms. Leopoldo always succeeded as the supportive sweetheart and Ms. Mitchell always hit the high note as a crisp Jewish woman. The both of them are sincerely strong women; this was my initial vibe of the play. I couldn't think of more exact models for Brayndick's dyad.
The kiddies were cute. Osamu was a stud via James Macapagal; he was always a smooth operator. Emma Brayndick was an inverted edition of Leopoldo and Mitchell: her tragedy was touching but her comedy didn't reach the roof. While she containted 90% good energy, she lacked the 10% zinger that Sadie's lines demanded. Her brief moment of stage fighting was so flat that it dried out the rest of my Malbec.
The story was a success; I understood the tone, but it felt like it was lacking more drama or one more subplot, especially for the brute length. The children got along almost too easily and the mommies hardly put up a fight. The side story, thus, contained little resistance. A heavier background plot and sharper actors would bring this garden to life with a four star health rating, but for now, remains at a three star health rating.