In Our Pockets:

I’m a major fan of Azuka’s Pay-What-You-Decide policy and have enjoyed their productions in the past, so I’m invested in the company’s future

 

The Take-Away 

  • Simple and efficient design helped to tell the story

  • Sensitive material explored honestly without feeling exploitive or overbearing

  • Powerful performances

  • Crystal clear directing illuminated complicated female relationships

 

The Design

Masha Tsimring’s lighting was very simple, yet effective. I’m a sucker for multipurpose lighting choices, so I enjoyed watching how clip lights were used throughout the play. It aided the storytelling by reinforcing this idea that the worlds we see are manufactured by Lee, but maintaining that there is a certain sterility to the whole thing. The metallic lights gave off a stark light that have only one setting that couldn’t be dimmed or brightened; to me, this symbolized Lee’s ultimately limited control over the world. 

The costumes (Jillian Keys) for each character provided me with an immediate understanding of the tone of their individual personalities. Alice Yorke’s flower child dress and sweater combo immediately revealed her new age mother-to-be, and the hipster intellectual vibe of Maggie Johnson’s costume as Lee was perfect for a an artist/professor. The costuming overall was really effective at showing who every character was without hitting us over the head with expository details in the dialogue.

I’m obsessed with the efficiency of Apollo Mark Weaver’s set! Who knew that moveable, white plastic sheets held up by string line could create so many spaces? Such a smart way to create a little theatre magic without breaking the bank.

The Direction

Sometimes when all of the moving parts of a piece meld so beautifully together, it can be difficult to suss out whom to give the credit. But perhaps because everything (the design, the acting, the communication of this relatively new text) worked so well as a whole, it’s safe to say that Rebecca Wright was the perfect director for this piece. The pacing moved along swiftly, the staging was dynamic, and the development of the relationships was communicated beautifully. 

The Script 

I said this to several people the next day, but this play broke me in half in the best way. The subject matter is something I hold so close to my heart, so I was bound to feel connected…but I really want to give Emma Goidel all the praise. However, I did find the framing device to be a glitch in the system. We take so long to get to the emotionally raw ending, and I wanted to sit there with Lee and Nicole longer rather than being pulled away from them so quickly to Real Lee. I think I know what Goidel was going for by not allowing the audience to stay in that emotional place and forcing them back into something more meta and intellectual but it undercut the journey.

The Performances

This super strong ensemble complemented each other well.  I didn’t quite believe in the professor/student relationship between Maggie and Ciera Gardner (who played Nina), due in part to their closeness in age. Gardner has such a strong presence on stage that they felt more like an equal of Maggie’s, rather than someone lower in the power dynamic. Alice Yorke slayed as the high-strung and fragile Nicole…she rode the arc that Emma crafted for her with grace, and her transition into a more-grounded Nicole later in the play was seamless.  

Accountability:

Hooray! A play for everyone! Those who might be triggered by themes of sexual assault should certainly take heed, but I do think the treatment of that subject matter is sensitive and well handled.  It was really exciting to see a queer person’s story told on stage, and to see that story told by someone who identifies with the queer experience.  I feel like we’re finally getting to a place of frank conversation about sexual assault, so THE GAP is pretty damn necessary. It engages with that topic and doesn’t let its audiences sit back.

By Fiona 

*Note: This review originally referred to Ciera Gardner with the wrong pronouns. We regret the error.

 

 

One thought on “The Gap- Azuka Theater

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