The Flick by Annie Baker. A Regional Premier Performance.

Reviewer: Mark DeWolf-Ott

Venue: Pit and Balcony Theatre

This 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama is labeled experimental theater for a reason. The seating and the projection booth are the stage, and the stage is where the audience sits. Cleaver minimal costumes, mops and brooms for props, and extra house lighting are also unique to this drama.

Aside from the unusual seating arrangements, broom and dust pans, the feelings and emotions of the characters are the real subject of the play. Sam, Rose and Avery have true everyday issues that we all deal with. The missed kiss, not asking someone for coffee, mental issues, deflated dreams. Things like that. 

Chris Krause, who performs in New York City, originally from Sanford Mi, plays Sam who is 35 living at home with his parents. Rose is 25, portrayed by Erica Close, SVSU theater student, that has relationship issues. Joshua Abram, SVSU graduate, is Avery who is taking a gap year from college to sort things out. His exceptional facial expressions and quirky body movements are really entertaining. Brian Bateson, Pit and Balcony veteran, has two roles “The Dreaming Man” and Skyler a new employee.

The play is set in 2012 in the Boston area when the technology was changing for movie houses from 35mm celluloid film to digital format. Most 18-year-olds probably have no idea what film is. At this point in time; Dark Night Rises, Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall, and the first Hunger Games were showing. Movie companies, like Paramount or Universal, were closing out the 35mm format.  The changeover was expensive for the individual movie theaters, like our own Court Theatre, they were struggling to stay open. 

Writer, Annie Baker, uses dramatic pauses and uncomfortable silences to exude emotion.  This makes the play extremely long. If you look at it as an experience; it shouldn’t be a problem. There are loads of emotion from very real people.

The Flick is part of Pit and Balcony Theatre’s 89th season.  Adeptly directed by Chad William Baker, the play runs May 15-16 and 21-23. Showtimes are Friday through Saturday at 7:30 pm with matinees on Sunday at 3 pm.

On a scale of one to five of my “How Do You Like Those Apples” rating, I would give it 4 apples because of the experimental staging, special writing style, and the performance of Joshua Abram. Pit and Balcony is doing a great job to keep live acting available during the pandemic.

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