- I'm sorry, y'all, but this one is going to be harsh.
- First off, bad title. I'm starting to get sick of "The ___ Project" (even though I once had my own, which I eventually named). It sounds like a working title, which gives the vibe of unfinished-ness, and a play in production should be finished. As I discovered, this show attempted to experiment, so I see the correlation of experimentalism with being a project, but, I think I'm just generally annoyed at this entire thing.
- Unlike the very professional staged reading of MEMORIAM I attended the other day, this show had "amateur" written all over it. I don't mind at all when theatre is done out of love because I am not talking about money. I am talking about CRAFT! And this production had a lot of love (self-love), but very little craft. If felt like a bunch of college kids playing at doing theatre. This opinion crystallized for me during Act II, which was entirely set in a loud, obnoxious nightclub, complete with girls barfing in the audience. Really? Really.
- The first act, a retelling of the story of Adam and Lilith and the creation of Eve was strange, tacky, and really forced. It was going for stylized, but because of the lack of TECHNIQUE (hence amateur), the production failed the script. The play required several stylized forms, namely drag and burlesque, but it was immediately evident that the performers did not have the skills to sell it. The costuming, designed by Bridget Gavlin, was actually great, but the sparkly apple pasties completely lost all effect when Lisa Jill Anderson as Lilith jumped the reveal. She also half-heartedly sang some kind of song during the number, the lyrics of which I couldn't hear a single word. Emmanuel Elpenord as Georgia Olivia Divine (aka G.O.D.) looked really great, but kind of sat on the lines, subduing what should have been a spectacular drag queen emcee who is also an all-knowing creator. There were a few seconds of voguing that could have (and maybe should have) been its own number, but that would have required someone with tremendous experience.
- Almost everyone was kind of wrong for their part, except for Adam and Eve, Cory Kosel and Chelsea Gonzalez, the only two who really sold the style. They were extremely charming and watchable, and they carried their characters strongly. They may have been the only two with vocal technique, because not only were their deliveries on point, they also were the only two not to swallow their lines.
- However, I must say that part of the reason lines were lost is due to the sound cues which were far too loud, and I'm only talking about Act I. I'm not even going to discuss Act II in regards to this, because the whole of Act II was a blaring and idiotic nightclub.
- Back to bad casting/performing, Samael was not sexy enough, and Lilith was not dangerous enough. I don't know if this was a direction or an actor's choice, but evidence of the wrongness of Samael and Lilith was a moment when Samael gave Lilith a disgusting slap on the ass on an exit. First of all, gross, second of all, what?
- I wonder, too, what the whole point of this production really was. I mean, clearly depictions of women and gender roles in religious texts are problematic at best, but why set Adam and Eve in the 50s, and then create a modern dance club? I assume it's to elaborate that the binary codification of the Bible is similar to the enforcement of gender roles in the 1950s, but that is less than evocative or even relevant. What does misogyny mean for us now? Why didn't they bring this to the present when legislation on women's bodies is front page news?! THAT might have been worthwhile.
- Okay, Act II. I don't even want to talk about it, but here we go. During the intermission, everyone was asked to exit to the lobby. Characters who I assume were meant to be demons mingled with the crowd kind of half in character. They invited us to join them on the stage when the doors opened, which was already a giant red flag for me. One demon kid asked me if I was ready to be violated, and before I could help myself, I said, "I think this play has already violated me." As the audience was about to enter the theatre again, a couple behind me mentioned to each other that it might be their chance. I turned to them and said, "Cue to leave? I know, I'm thinking about it too!" But we went in anyway, even though the strobe lights were more than enough of a sign to exit immediately.
- We were all meant to stand on the stage as the actors danced and sexed each other up as sloppy drunken adolescents might, but a friend and I weaseled back into the seats because we weren't having it. Actors tried to get us back down there and told us that we wouldn't hear the play, but by that point, I was sure that was for the best. So, the few of us who escaped being molested sat and observed from the seats, and at times, actors came up and stepped over us and pretended to barf and to do whatever they thought was club-like stuff to do. I just waited it out and tried to block out the booming house music.
- At the end (finally), Diva Divine asked questions of the audience, and the last couple were my fave. "How many of you have kids?" Nobody. "How many of you party?" Everybody. Yep. For a sophisticated, or at least an adult audience, this was not. And that's fine. So it wasn't for me. That's okay, but that doesn't mean you can skimp on quality performance.
- I was really ready to give this production 1 T shot on behalf of the performances of Cory Kosel and Chelsea Gonzalez and for Bridget Gavlin's costume design, but the strobes, choreography, and well, the whole rest of it took even that singular T shot away. Sorry guys. This one wasn't good.