Patient: The Darkness After Dawn
Legal Guardians: Playwright Manny Tamayo, Director Mandy Walsh
Surname: Factory Theater Ensemble
Address: 1623 W Howard Street Chicago, IL 60626
Symptoms: Gunny McShooty, artistic duress, the Filth
Diagnosis: Cliches After Dawn
I was physically nauseated for unrelated reasons before entering surgery. I went to a three star restaurant earlier and ordered their fried seafood dinner. They gave me so many scallops, Nurse 911… so many scallops. My plate was like a private island mound… of scallops. I believe I will win the Unbiased Doctor of the Year Award because of my dedication to withstand a whole surgery while wafting stomach sickness but disallowing it to intervene with the patient’s surgery.
The Factory Theater is a modern storefront theater with an authentic reminder for their audience: “most Chicagoans created theater companies because they didn’t want to wait for the right kind of shows to appear—they wanted to make them.” Props to the Factory for not including their actors’ resumes in the playbill. More theaters need to leave room only for art. Their black box was decked out with sublime seats for the audience. The stage was well suited for the particular play, but it’s so simple, clever, and pliable, that I can imagine the layout being the back drop of almost any interior scene with little interchange. Lighting, tech, and set crew accented the scenes perfectly.
After the facade, the patient turned terminal. Their vital script was unsalvageable during surgery. The actors and dialogue came on strong, but after the first scene’s movement, the seams ripped into a full malfunction. The actors where faithfully invested and bringing their A-game, but the script is so simplistic and unoriginal that no special delivery or magical celebrity could repair it. It has all the tricks of an eleventh-hour drama. The only gimmick the writer forgot was… “What about… the baby?!” I had no idea what the through-line was. Tamayo attempted some tricky-dickens tripartite deception, but I would suggest they mend their basic forms before attempting such a maneuver. I wondered why the portrait on the easel, the centerpiece of the play’s symbolism, was pantomimed and blank. If it’s important, commission an artist. The rough n’ tumble scenes were uncomfortably amateur; I’ve seen better fights from impromptu.
The actors had their personal flaws apart from the stilted one-liners. Blake Dalzin was feisty as Renzo, but his character in particular was a megaphone for the script’s flaws. He was often out-of-tune and unable to mitigate the awkward lines. Bradford Stevens as Hughes was as energetic and deaf as his partner in crime. Allison Cain as Rosemary was a beacon of organic speakin’. Her lines, however, were not free from the script’s bumps; I found myself cringing with her as well. Jose Cervantes as Jaime and Samantha Newcomb as Aurora were notably dedicated minors bringing real visceral moments to the performance. Their roles had the least amount of script croaks.
The patient will not make it. Harvest the actors from the piece and donate them to a new patient. The script is dead at one star. I’d like to give the actors a four star rating, but their performance was so curved by the ill script that I cannot say I know their true ability. The patient will be buried with a two star health rating with a diligent effort from the actors to bring it to life.
After I got home, I went to the washroom and instantly upchucked an explosion of sour scallops. I was dripping with catharsis.