Sarah Grimke is a maker and administrator

In My Pockets 

I’ve worked for 1812 before and I know most of the people involved in the show. I love a good laugh, so I was really here for a comedy the day I went. World is rough!

 

The Take-Away 

  • Great performance and production of an ok play

  • Don’t know why this show was chosen or why it was written

  • Production values on this were on point. 1812 doesn’t fool around (that was a joke about them being a comedy company- get it?- this is why I wouldn’t be a good comedic performer).

 

The Design

The set by Chris Haig was stunning and clean. The simple white set transformed the familiar and vaudevillian Plays and Players theater into an almost unrecognizable clean space that easily aided our imaginations in creating each unique setting the play called up. The custom black masking framed the white set to give the illusion that it floated in space. I thought this was incredibly effective for a one man show where we  follow the story telling to and from so many places, but also in a show where so much of the story happened in a place where he is alone and cut off from the world.

 

The Script

I’m not a huge fan of the script, but I also think that’s because the play was not meant for me. Which is totally fine. Not everything has to cater to me! I think this play was written for communities I’m not necessarily a member of. Discussing it with other audience members later, nearly everyone felt like it was full of inside jokes that they were missing.

I think the target audience loves musical theater (excellent musical theater deep cut references peppered throughout), which is actually not as small a group as one might think based on the hearty laughs all around me. Most people got some of the jokes but few got all of them. 

While this isn’t a brand new play, it is the first time I came into contact with it, and while I laughed a good amount, I left feeling like it wasn’t complete, or at least like I was missing something. I’m just not sure why the story was told, and it ultimately didn’t feel like there was a true arc.  Technically, a story happened start to finish, but that story didn’t feel connected to the real world or this character’s larger life. It was like watching someone tell an amusing anecdote for 90 minutes. It was fun, but I was hoping the story would go somewhere more.

The Direction and Performance

Dan O’Neal’s direction did the job of keeping the audience engaged and feeling like they were a part of the story, despite the fact that at least some of it was inaccessible to most of us.

Dito is the master at connecting with an audience, and I loved seeing him work. That being said, I wish this play had more meat. I’ve seen Dito slay a number of juicy roles, and I wanted to have that experience again.

 

Why this Play Now?

Every single production element was tight, the performance was wonderful, the directing was dynamic and kept my attention for 90+ minutes, which is no easy feat. I just wish that all of those resources and talents had been put together in service of a better play. Especially right now, I feel like artists need to be responsible about what stories they are elevating and why, and this story felt like a throwaway.

Talking about the show the next day at brunch, a friend pointed out the need for escapism and laughter in the current climate and how that is precious as a form of self-care. I absolutely get that, and if that’s what this was supposed to do- it worked. I’m just not sure that’s what I go to the theatre for. I’ve got YA fantasy novels for that.

Still, I’m glad for people who were able to turn off their anxiety for 90 minutes watching this show. Drink some water and take care of yourselves!

 

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