Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Future Friends

picture courtesy of Amber Fox LaCasse
The future looks grim according to playwright Becca Schlossberg. But there is a beacon of hope. And they’re named Cal and Grey. cal and grey, set in 2070 after The Cleanse that wiped out men and women leaving children as orphans in wards, follows the unlikely bond between the two said orphans. While the outcome is tragic, the formation of this relationship is what it’s about. 
Set in the bathroom of the ward, the two-hander journeys through a brief period of time from their first encounter to their heart wrenching last moments together. Schlossberg’s script heavily relies on offstage exposition in order to propel the story. To the audience, the world Schlossberg has created is foreign, so one slip of misinformation and you’re lost. The exposition informs both Cal and Grey’s objectives of escaping to freedom together, but the real driving force of the play is the nature of their friendship. Cal and Grey go through the same obstacles any modern day duo face so the futurist backdrop just adds to the universality of the piece. Unfortunately there is so much offstage action that we don’t get to see that the arc of the flourishing relationship sometimes appears contrived. There seems to be a scene or two missing, which doesn’t help the abrupt ending, that we desperately want to see. It’s inevitable from the start that “something’s going to happen between Cal and Grey” but the big question mark is in this future world, what are the consequences of a romantic relationship between two boys? And if there are none, why is it important. But with the script we do see, we get some truly wonderful and authentic moments.
Justin Blake Broido and Nick Martin, as Cal and Grey respectively, offer some nice performances. Broido’s slightly macho aura against Martin’s beautifully coy demeanor plays nicely off each other. Martin establishes great strength as Grey but his swift character shift comes off artificial, but this could be due to the missing pieces in his character arc. Madeleine Rose Parsigian guides her actors nicely despite the challenging thrust stage. Though her staging occasionally seems to ask for a cross for the sake a cross, her stage pictures were quite lovely. Katie Chai does a great job transforming the space as both scenic and lighting designer, though transitions could have been much sharper.
cal and grey is a pleasing relationship play. Though the sci-fi elements are not for everyone, the heart and soul of the characters shine through and that’s what we’re here to watch.