Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review of First Floor Theater's Two Mile Hollow

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Two Mile Hollow. It was by Leah Nanako Winkler and it was directed by Hutch Pimentel. It was about a family reunited at their vacation home where the parents had planned to retire. But the father had died and the house is being sold and they came there to collect the father's stuff. When the movie star son, Christopher (Kai Ealy), comes home with his personal assistant Charlotte (Aurora Adachi-Winter), his mother Blythe (Jazmín Corona) and his sister Mary (Deanna Myers) aren't so sure about her presence. But his brother Joshua (Jose Natera) seems pretty happy about it. It is about rich white families and how they abuse their power and how their stories have become so normal to us even though we should be seeing a lot more diversity on the stage and on the screen. It is a parody of dramatic plays like The Seagull, which they mention several times, about how much it sucks to be depressed in a family of successful rich people. I think this show is very funny but it also says a lot of sadly true things.

There were a lot of really funny moments in this show. Sometimes I was crying, I was laughing so hard. There is some really great physical humor in this. When Christopher and Joshua were fighting over who was going to get the motorcycle (it's a metaphor), they do it all in slow motion. They are having a slow motion fight (fight choreography by Amanda Fink) and the facial expressions that they had were so hilarious. They were running past us in the aisle and seeing the expression up close was even funnier. There was flailing on the ground, more flailing on the ground, then getting up and running away. I thought it was hilarious. There was also this impromptu interpretive dance (choreography by Kasey Alfonso) with Mary and Charlotte where they were talking about how it feels to be a woman. It was funny because just out of nowhere--there have not been any interpretive dances to this point--they just start making shapes with their bodies. Mary started the dance by pushing her scarf around while looking very disappointed and depressed. It was so random and they talked while they were dancing in a pretentious way, like they were high schoolers putting on a show they thought would change the world but was actually people just talking about problems that everybody already knew were problems. I thought it was hilarious. It was saying some true things, but, again, we already knew being a woman can be crappy.

There was also a lot of verbal comedy. All the things that happen in this plot are basically a combination of things that happen in really white plays: a depressed family, a boy searching for his identity, summer homes, a girl who can't find love, forbidden love, incestuous love, bitchy moms, and dead spouses. And to top it all off, a love triangle. And birds. White people love birds. The characters talk in very unforgettable ways. Mary loves talking about how whenever she is sad, she pretends to be a bird. I've never ever seen a play that has anything like that before. (Just kidding.) She's also like a Tennessee Williams character times eight. She continues to say "no" but each no is said with a different purpose and in a different way until, about halfway through, the way she is saying them completely changes to more of a consoling "no." It sounds like she is talking to a baby and then it is going all over the place. And it is just hilarious. Joshua has this speech impediment for only certain words because of his medication. It makes everything he says sound not serious and like he is slowly getting drunk over the course of the word. It makes his character even more hilarious and diffuses the situation, no matter how serious it is, which is really funny.

This family in the show, no matter how hilarious, are also jerks. And they are racist too. Every single time the mother tells a story, she starts out with, "so there is this [insert ethnicity here] who did this thing that really annoyed me." The play draws attention to how racist this is by having people, especially Charlotte (the character you are rooting for), get angry about it. Also the white characters who are saying all this stuff are not actually played by white people, which makes it so that you see the play is not telling you to feel that way. Charlotte has these "strange interludes" where she turns out to the audience and tells them how she is feeling about something. (It reminded me of Groucho Marx making fun of Eugene O'Neill.) I think they have them because even though the audience will know that the things the white characters are saying are bad, to have an actual character in the play talk about it is more powerful and shows you how important it is to listen to a perspective that isn't white.

People who would like this show are people who like hilarious parodies, metaphoric motorcycles, and birds. I think that people should definitely go see this show. It closes this weekend, so everyone should go see it before it closes. It is such a fun play, but it also has a lot of really good points to make. I loved it!

Photos: Juli Del Prete

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