Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review of First Floor Theater's Deer and the Lovers

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Deer and the Lovers. It was by Emily Zemba and it was directed by Jesse Roth. It was about a boyfriend, Peter (Alex Stage), and a girlfriend, Qiana (Shadee Vossoughi), who were going to her parents' retreat and they find a dead deer inside the house and the deer had crashed the window and caused a mess. Then Peter's sister Marnie (Kay Kron) came with her husband Felix (Tony Santiago) because they thought they were invited. They call animal control and Lenny (Matt Nikkila) arrives and says they can't do anything with the deer, so they are stuck with a giant dead deer in their house. Everyone has their secrets, which all get revealed. It is about betrayal, misinterpreting signs, and the challenges of love. I really liked this show. I thought it was very funny, but it also had some great messages.

One of my favorite misinterpreted signs was when Marnie was in the forest and she found a squirrel, or the squirrel found her, as it hurled itself out of the tree toward her, which she thought was a big sign. She thought it was a sign that her life was useless, and she announced this to the world that her life was useless because of the squirrel. I thought it was hilarious but also kind of sad at the same time, because it was clearly not what the squirrel was trying to do. Felix also misunderstands Qiana; he thinks that they are more serious than they actually are. Peter also misinterprets how into him Qiana is. This is kind of sad, because you like both the characters and want them to be happy. The entire play seems to be wanting you to root for Peter, but then your views kind of change throughout the play, which is think is very interesting. The audience also might be misinterpreting things. And Lenny is a very good example of that, but you have to see the show to find out what I mean.

Betrayal can be funny if it is in a play, which sounds like a cruel thing to say, but it is true. I really liked the scene where Qiana and Felix found each other all covered in blood, and for some reason that was really attractive to them. And they proceed to make out. They try to lay out a couch so it is more like a bed, but then both their romantic partners walk in, and they are trying to get everything straightened up again. They are acting very suspicious but no one seems to notice, and the seat that I was talking about wouldn't stay up, so then throughout the entire scene they were trying to get the couch back up again, but that didn't work, so they keep trying while smiling awkwardly. I thought that that was very funny. There was another betrayal where Marnie went to a sperm bank instead of having a child with her husband because she thought he was having an affair, which she would be correct about. And there was one moment where Marnie was talking to everybody and shouted at the top of her lungs, "I AM WITH CHILD!" And when she said that it was all in slow motion, which was very funny. And there is a really funny fight (violence design by Amanda Fink) that ensues after that. And I do really like slapstick comedy and funny fights.

Qiana is alarmed by the deer and she thinks she is a deer and needs antlers, which is when the audience starts to think she is crazy. She's gone a little overboard with the whole deer metaphor. It actually kind of reminded me of Nina in The Seagull because she goes crazy over a dead animal (that her boyfriend kills) and then identifies with that animal, just like Qiana. Qiana wants antlers so she can feel more powerful, and Nina thinks of herself as a seagull because she feels like she is dead inside but she wants to be able to fly. I don't know if the deer really means anything, but everyone is trying to make it mean something. Peter is trying to make it mean that this is the perfect time to propose. Qiana is trying to make it mean that everything is a disaster and she has to do something about it. They have very different ideas of how the deer died at first. Qiana thinks the deer died from trying to get out of the house. Peter thinks the deer died trying to get in. I think that might actually be a metaphor because Qiana is trying to get out of the relationship and Peter is trying to get Qiana more into the relationship.

People who would like this show are people who like squirrel signs, uncooperative couches, and funny but deep stories. I think people should definitely go see this show. It was very funny and I loved it.

Photos: Ian McLaren

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