Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Humana Festival 2012: The Veri**on Play

[Originally posted to the 88.1 KDHX blog]

The Veri**on Play by Lisa Kron
Directed by Nicholas Martin
Original music by Jeanine Tesori
The Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville
Through April 1, 2012

My live video blog with Joan Lipkin of The Vital Voice

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Synopsis: "When Jenni called customer service, all she wanted was to fix a minor problem with her cell phone bill. Instead she was sucked into a vortex of unimaginable horror. Now she wants revenge—or to get her cell phone service turned back on. Part thriller, part screwball comedy, part inspired by events that have undoubtedly happened to YOU."

In a world dominated by omnipresent corporations (or, here in the USA, omnipresent "persons"), nearly everyone has a bad "customer service" experience. Actor/playwright Lisa Kron, however, has turned hers into a 70-minute piece of highly entertaining Brechtian agitprop that sharply satirizes the corrupting influence of corporate power and the ease with which corporate media distract us from that influence with a steady stream of celebrity trivia. Noted theatre composer Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline, or Change) provides the effective incidental music and a rousing anti-corporate anthem for an audience sing-along at the end.

Playwright Kron has the star turn as the beleaguered Jenni. Hannah Bos does a great quick-change routine as Ingrid and Cydney and Carolyn Baeumler is a wonderfully duplicitous Anissa. Others in the fine cast are: Joel Van Liew, Kimberly H├ębert-Gregory, Ching Valdes-Aran, Clayton Dean Smith, Calvin Smith, Sabrina Contini, and Chris Reid.

There’s an international chase scene near the end that is, perhaps, a bit drawn out (although I appreciate its relevance as a commentary on the world-wide reach of the corporatocracy), but otherwise The Veri**on Play is a neat piece of satire that deserves additional productions.

Join in the discussion on Twitter with the #hf36 or #humanafest hash tags and follow me @clavazzi. Look for Joan Lipkin's reviews at The Vital Voice.

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