Monday, March 13, 2017

Review of A Wrinkle in Time at Lifeline Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called A Wrinkle in Time. It was based on the novel by Madeleine L'Engle and adapted by James Sie. It was directed by Elise Kauzlaric. It was about a girl named Meg (Jamie Cahill) who went with her brother Charles Wallace (Trent Davis) and her friend Calvin (Glenn Obrero) to another dimension to rescue their dad (Michael McKeogh). They are guided by three witches--Mrs. Who (Javier Ferreira), Mrs. Whatsit (Madeline Pell), and Mrs. Which (Carmen Molina)--and meet a lot of strange creatures on different planets. It's about family, learning to love your flaws, and magical science. This book holds a very special place in my heart and I was happy to see someone was doing an adaptation of it.

My favorite scenes took place on the planet Camazotz. I thought they were particularly interesting because they combined music, precision, and deadpan expression. Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin all went to the planet that Meg and Charles Wallace's dad was on. The inhabitants of this planet (Ferreira, Marsha Harman, Pell,and James Romney) all dress in grey and each of their children plays outside in perfect time together so it made a beat of the ball bouncing or skipping rope. It sounded really cool. Once Charles Wallace introduces himself it throws everything off for a second and then they snap back into their perfect, pristine world of rhythm. The inhabitants don't seem to be having any fun, and when they see the children that don't look like anyone else, they all became suspicious. The uniformity of Camazotz is very scary in an effective way.

I think there is a really great theme in this play of how parents can fail. The dad fails his wife (Vahishta Vafadari) and family by not being at home for years because he was held captive by IT, a scary giant brain that controls Camazotz who was spoken for by Red Eyes (Naïma Hebrail Kidjo). And then to protect Meg and Calvin, he leaves Camazotz without Charles Wallace. I think that it is a good lesson that parents can fail, but when they do, it doesn't mean they don't love you. That is important to learn as a kid. I think that all children in their lives will see their parents do something wrong. Meg, at first, just gets mad at her dad for messing up. But then later she has to have her own heroic moment and she is trying to help her family get back together and be a full family again. And she does forgive her father because he talks to her and she understands that he didn't mean to hurt her. This is a pretty insane story, and most parents don't have the excuse of having traveled to another planet and having been captured by a giant brain. But this story does have elements of truth to it: parents will mess up sometimes, kids will mess up sometimes, but you will always be family and love each other.

It is very hard to do a play of such a well-known and beloved book because everyone who has read the book has an idea in their brain of what it is supposed to be like. Meg, for example, seemed a little bit petulant in the play where in the book you feel like she is you. So you don't feel like she is whining in the book; you feel like she is expressing her opinion. Also when you think of Aunt Beast, who is not a human, you don't think of a human playing that role, so when humans do play Aunt Beast, it seems disturbing. Maybe a puppet or a different costume design that disguised their human form more would have worked better for me. Tessering, which is kind of like time traveling but you also go to different planets, in the book seemed really amazing and cool. On stage it seemed kind of awkward because the actors were just flailing their arms and legs around while balancing on other actors' feet. They are trying to seem like they are floating in air, but it didn't work for me.

People who would like this show are people who like good life lessons, cool uses of rhythm, and scary mind-controlling brains. I really loved this book and I think there are a lot of great themes in this play. It gave me a lot to think about afterwards.

Photos: Jackie Jasperson

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