Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review: Car (and Relationship) Failure

By Michael Block 

It's an age old story. Your car breaks down, the tow truck operator happens to be the brother of your high school sweetheart. Sparks fly. The brother appears. Drama ensues. Truths are revealed. And that's the story. Phoebe Farber's Jump It is a play that brings the past to the present for the past to be rehashed. To be blunt, the predictability factor was off the charts. A super desperate housewife named Wendy lusts over Stu, the brother of her old flame. She's lonely. He's depressed. They need each other in this moment. Meanwhile Ray has returned to Jersey from a life in LA where he just seems to cause problems for both Wendy and Stu. Finding the point of Jump It is a bit difficult. The story isn't refreshing or new. Every thing you think would happen does. Each character was dealing with so many things at once that none of it was fleshed out and meaningful. Finding one particular woe will help flesh out these individuals.
photo by Ze Castle
Gama Valle's direction was simple. With the situation naturally being dramatic, Valle helped the company find beats of comedy. Even though this was a work of theater, the theatrical moments felt out of place. The dance interludes didn't seem rationalized in this world. It's always nice to have transition music to cover up a scene shift. Except when it's the same, exact song. And one that song Valle picked sounded like bad 80's TV drama.
The trio of Jump It created characters that were familiar. With lust on her mind from start to finish, Bethany Geraghty's Wendy felt weak. She infused some wonderful flashes of humor but this character is not a strong character. As brothers Stu and Ray, Philip Cruise and Eli Ganias exposed just how different siblings can be.
It's important when taking a character on a journey that they experience some change or realization that makes the journey worth taking. Sadly the characters in Jump It ended exactly where they started. It was a blip in their lives that could easily be erased.