Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Play # 53 - GEEK! by Crystal Skillman

This production is a bit of a monster - it seems like it would be extremely difficult to stage, but as the playwright says in her introduction, "GEEK!, for sure, is a play all about the imagination - have fun imagining how this play moves on stage! Yay, theater!" GEEK! reminded me a lot of She Fights Monsters, but if possible, it may be even more ambitious. I mean, there are 32 characters, and it is written to be performed with as few as six actors... two of whom are the consistent lead characters. Whew! You have two cosplay girls - Danya and Honey - who are desperately trying to make it through the last hour of this huge convention to meet the creator of Dante's Fire. This is an (made up for the play) anime universe that they and their third cohort Ellen have been reenacting on camera - attempting to recreate every moment of the story in their own way. Ellen, Honey's sister, just killed herself, and Danya and Honey feel like they owe it to her to get to creator Samagashi and give her the videos that they made together. This is, of course, an easier-said-than-done situation, as the girls meet with resistance at pretty much every turn. There are evil guards and steampunks and cruel devil cat women and Timekeepers and Minotaurs and Goth Princesses and Miss Cosy and mean girls... it's pretty much every obstacle possible, all crammed into a relatively short play. The action jumps back and forth between the real action of the girls moving through the convention and the fantastic imaginary world of cosplay in which so many of the characters agree to live. It tests the bounds of reality and theatricality, and, with the right geeked-out production team, this show could really be an amazing amount of fun. There is a real love for the cosplay culture baked into this script, and I think that a similar love would be really helpful in the director and designers. Creating the scale of the con world within the scope of what most of us usually have for a theatrical budget... it would be a pretty great challenge for the right team of people. Honestly, I don't think I would be that person. The learning curve to get me up to speed on cosplay, anime, manga, etc... would just be a little too steep. But man, would I love to see it lovingly performed! Or maybe I just need a really bitchin' dramaturg on my team? Because the structure alone is the kind of theatrical challenge that I think defines the most exciting contemporary theatre. There's a sincere  heart at the center of these girls' journey, and a deep well of imagination in the telling of it. And there's Squeaker. I want to play Squeaker.

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