Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review of Route 66 Theatre Company's No Wake

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called No Wake. It was by William Donnelly and it was directed by Kimberly Senior. It was about this man named Edward (Stef Tovar) and he had been through a divorce about a decade ago and now he is at his daughter's funeral. Of course, his ex-wife Rebecca (Lia D. Mortensen) and he don't get along super well at first. She has married a British man named Roger (Raymond Fox), so everything is kind of awkward between the three of them. They are trying to figure out how to stop feeling guilty about the problems their daughter had. And they think of some pretty terrible ways to deal with their sadness that make other people sad. This play is not just insanely sad. It is also very very funny in some parts. It is about love, loss, and fighting for what you want. I thought that this was a really great show. It made me laugh and it also made me sad, and I think that is a pretty good combination.

One time one of the characters was walking along the beach, and he saw a sign that said "No Wake" and he didn't know what it meant. But then he realized that it meant, don't make any waves here. That's what it meant. That is a good title for the play because the characters don't want any waves, they just want their lives to be calm. But then more than one character realizes they want to fight for what they want and not just be calm. Life can be boring because of passivity if you don't have any obstacles. Life is more interesting when you have to fight for what is right and try out new things and rediscover things that impact you in a big way.

Edward and Roger had a fight (fight choreography by John Tovar) that was very funny. They kind of were just flailing around trying to wrestle each other but every time they failed. I thought that was hilarious. When Roger took his shoe off and had to say "Time out" as he hopped around trying to get it back on, even though they were in a hotel room and he wouldn't get his feet dirty, I thought it was hilarious. I think Roger thought that he looked like a wrestler or a big man until he tried to fight and then he realized, "Yeah. I don't." The very opening scene was also really funny. Roger was telling Edward a story about frogs, which is a very strange first conversation to have with somebody, especially your wife's ex-husband. He was talking about kids and what he'd done as a kid. He had thrown around frogs...or were they toads? And he wanted his frogs to get into a diving position and he said if they had done that they never would have gotten hurt on the edge of the bucket. I thought that was funny, but I feel kind of sorry for the frogs because the frogs didn't deserve it. The play is very funny, but also very disturbing, just like the frog story.

The show wasn't always a comedy show. Sometimes it was a bit of a tearjerker. I found it very touching how after Roger and Edward had their fight they kind of made up. It showed that even though what was happening was very sad, just by talking about trying to keep their bodies in shape and complaining about not being in good shape any more, they were able to kind of bond. There was also a very sad scene where Edward and Rebecca were in Edward's hotel room and she realized that she had to talk to him about their daughter. They talk about what it is like to lose their daughter, and how, even though they were not in touch with her anymore and she said she hated them, maybe she didn't hate them and was just sick. But that didn't make everything ok for them because they still felt like something had been their fault. I think it is very sad to think about someone deciding not to talk to their parents.

People who would like this show are people who like touching stories about parents, funny failed wrestling, and diving frogs. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was amazing and everything you could want in a play. I loved it!

Photos: Brandon Dahlquist

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