Colon's play literally gets inside the brain of Beau Willie Brown as he struggles with life following a stint in Vietnam. With theatricality taking shape, but i cd only whisper explores modern themes through a period lens proving time has come but change has not. With a strong thesis within, but i cd only whisper tries to do a little too much. The script jerks the audience around stylistically, gaining intrigue and momentum only at the big climax. Structurally, Colon vastly spreads out her story, offering many pieces of the puzzle over the ninety minute drama. There is often a lot of character and story information to take in at once, and unless you are fully engulfed with the action occurring right in front if your face, it may be hard to engage. And this is due entirely to David Monteagudo's staging in the basement black box of The Flea. Attempting to use every nook and cranny of the unique space, there is a natural disconnect built in. This is one instance where space is a hindrance. but i cd only whisper relies on intimacy. With monologues and duets between subject and shrink being the prime use of storytelling, the stray scenes Colon adds happen to be the most interesting. Especially the scene between Crystal, Genevieve, and Marvin. It proves that the confessions may not be serving the play best and desire scenes to receive intel.
|photo by Hunter Canning|
Colon’s script jerks around stylistically and director David Monteagudo didn’t quite rein it in together. Like the play itself, Monteagudo’s vision was clunky. With heavy material all around, there was natural tension that filled the room. But what Monteagudo did well was find a way for the audience to get inside Beau Willie Brown’s brain. The piercing ring from sound designer D.R. Baker was exactly the sound necessary to evoke the sensation Beau was feeling. The Vietnam vibes pervades the production, especially through Ari Fulton’s costumes. The pieces Fulton chose to dress her company were iconic to the decade. From the high-waisted jeans on Crystal to the hair and blouse on Genevieve to the camo color scheme on Beau, Fulton captured the times.
Though the play lives in a specific period, Kristiana Rae Colon’s story still rings true. Her thesis within but i cd only whisper is bold but the execution of the script and production was not.