Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fringe: Mare Cognitum

Theater of the Expendable drew me to this show with its rampant cry for escapism: given the sorry state of affairs in the world today, fuck it, let's go to the moon indeed. But just like their last show, Cherry Docs, the blatant dialogue gives rise to something more tender underneath, and Mare Cognitum manages to blast off above the calamity and commotion. David McGee finds a nice contrast in setting the all-too natural dialogue of excitable Lena (Devon Caraway), shyly intelligent Jeff (Kyle Walters), and contemplatively serious Thomas (Justin Howard), against their hopeful thought experiment, and director Jesse Edward Rosbrow uses long pauses and full lighting shifts to refocus moments, allowing him first to move the action into the past (Walters slyly doubles as a snobby political activist in Lena's world and as an interviewer/confessor in Thomas's self-deceptive routine) and then into a more optimistic apogee. The importance of what these characters are saying (beyond the cheap jokes about Pluto's demotion and Quantum Leap's "god"), help to elevate their conversation beyond sitcom fodder: the thoughts become, in essence, the dramatic hook. It's a clever solution, given that our generation's apathy is defined by the lack of an obstacle, and the show, despite being one ending too long, is a creative change of pace. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "The dark side of the moon" and 5 being "No other words: just fly me to the moon," Mare Cognitum gets a 3.5.

No comments: