Presented by Boston Actors Theater
By Walt McGough
Directed by Melanie Garber
Review by Noe Kamelamela
(Boston) For the past nine years, Boston Actor’s Theater has made every effort to involve community in choosing and putting on performances that have distinct flavor. Their latest production of local playwright Walt McGough’s salute to The Connected Era is an homage to the Internet and how we, as users, understand and relate to it.
A clever, light-hearted show that could be considered a mix of movies such “You’ve Got Mail,” “Powder” and “TRON,” it features internet issues of the moment such as surveillance and fandom while being rooted in the differences between meatspace and virtual space. In a world much like our own, Brenna McClellan (Boston, amirite?) makes attempts at connection which are rebuffed to catastrophic results. Caroline Price’s portrayal of Brenna makes very difficult text and awkward exchanges appear seamless. Price is not the only star here, Monica Shea’s mania in particular infuses her modern day Dogberry with a winking shout-out to New England’s Finest.
The designs for costumes, props and set were microchip-inspired both in subtle ways as well as obvious ones to evoke, as the sound design did, science-fiction that felt very close to science fact. The cast, providing high energy throughout the show, made full use of the entire stage. Clearly, the production staff worked with a small budget, but the result is well-directed and of a united vision.
Paper City Phoenix rises to be both hopeful and thought-provoking. One can only hope that Boston Actor’s Theater next show TWINS, written by local playwright Julian Olf, in September will fly as high.