Eclectic Company Theatre's New Play is 'Preposterous'
We've had occasion previously to consider the dramaturgical trick of running scenes progressively backward in chronological time over the course of a play. And we've run across it in one or two more productions since then. Now, Jason Britt's "Preposterous," currently running at the Eclectic Company Theatre, employs the same device, but fails to deliver the payoff that this kind of structure intrinsically promises.
The play's first scene takes place just after the funeral of John (Erik Saari), a young man whose friends have gathered at his house to grieve and drown their sorrows together. When Jackie (Laura Lee Bahr) ruefully recalls that John's girlfriend Wendy (Rachel Kanouse) was very much in love with him, her own boyfriend Kevin (John Klopping) goes ballistic and has to be physically restrained from attacking her for making that comment. Meanwhile Allan (Britt) and his old flame Miranda (Angela Landis) ruminate on the collapse of their own relationship and what they may still mean to each other.
But in two subsequent scenes, each taking place a couple of years earlier than the ones just before them, none of the hints dropped or mysteries introduced in those initial dramatic encounters are addressed or resolved at all. Rather, as the evening continues, the play keeps on raising new questions and unexpected interactions between the three couples which also never get elucidated.
These six actors in these six roles are very engaging company, and while director Taylor Ashbrook's production is not short, it's never boring for a moment. Indeed, we were even a little disappointed when it ended, as we really were hoping for some more revelatory insight that would fill in all the narrative ellipses that the play had repeatedly teased us with to sustain our interest.
"Preposterous" plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and Sunday nights at 7 through October 9. Tickets $20 through the Eclectic Company Theatre web site, $12.50 on goldstar and $11 through LA Stage Tix. "Pay What You Can" performance next Friday, the 16th.