Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review of Ideation at Jackalope Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Ideation. It was by Aaron Loeb. It was directed by Gus Menary. It's about a group, who all worked for the same company, that has been set with the task of making a plan to get rid of people who had this deadly virus that was going to spread across the world. They are trying to decipher what this plan is actually supposed to do, where they are in the system, and how they can make this plan morally justifiable. It is about trust, humanity, and what we don't know about but still believe. I thought that this was a super fun, intriguing, and altogether awesome show. I really enjoyed it.

I think the characters in this show are very human; it was fascinating to see all their different responses to the same situation. When it comes to solving the problem of getting rid of infected people, Hannah (Rachel Sullivan) doesn't want it to be painful. I found it interesting that even though she is having an affair, which is not a very moral thing, she still doesn't want people to get hurt. It is ironic because she is doing something that could potentially hurt her friends and family. Sandeep (Kaiser Zaki Ahmed) wants to get the job done and he thinks it is a very serious topic. He is also trying to be moral, which means he questions the whole project. But he is also having an affair, which shows that even people who are very moral do immoral things. Then there is Ted (Michael Kingston) who has a wife and two kids and is altogether the dad of the group. They call him "Papa Bear." I think that he is the least concerned out of everyone as to what might be actually going on with the assignment. He thinks it is childish to make up theories as to what is going on when he thinks they should just be doing the assignment. Brock (Japhet Balaban) is the most obsessed with figuring out who is behind the scheme; he turns against everyone at some point. He might be paranoid, but he explores so many options that there is a chance that one of them is actually true. He came up with this system where they would have V equals a number to indicate what level they are and how much they know. And if they think somebody knows more than "one," they could be the person behind all of this. I think it is really interesting how he came up with this secret code to describe what level people were at in the system.

Very early in the show you get to learn what many of the characters are like when they get agitated. It is all because of the the intern, Scooter (Henry Greenberg), who is the son of one of the board members. And he keeps pretending that he did things, like set up the room or get coffee when he was asked, even though he obviously didn't. He can't avoid talking and correcting people if he thinks they are wrong, which shows he is not a very good notetaker, which is supposed to be his job. They fire him, but that might be a problem because his father is on the board and might get mad. He's kind of a Draco Malfoy character because he is running to his father to save him from the mean guys who are doing the right thing by firing him. We see that Hannah, though she is one of the most irritated by Scooter, is also the most afraid of losing her position because she is so high up. I think Brock hates Scooter the most and is the most aggressive in dealing with him. That might be because they are kind of similar. He's everything Brock might not like about himself, like how he wants to be in control even in a room where he is not the one with the most power. I think that because Ted has kids, he understands both Brock and Scooter and how power is so important to them. Kids are not really allowed that much power, so they can become power hungry when they get to the real world.

This play about killing a bunch of possibly diseased people is actually quite humorous some of the time. Here are some of my favorite funny moments. Whenever Ted was feeling stressed, he'd go to Starbucks for a petite scone, which I think is an absolutely amazing idea because who couldn't go for a petite scone when they are stressed? But it is not as traditional as going outside to get a breath of fresh air. Petite scones is just a funny name in the first place. And to have it be a substitute for a breath of fresh air is just hilarious. Another really funny moment was when they were searching for listening devices in the room because they were sure they were being spied on. They think, "We should listen to some music really loud so they can't hear what we are saying." And Ted starts playing "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, because it was the last thing he was playing on his phone. And they start frantically tearing through the room looking for places that might be bugged. And this goes on for several minutes and it was perfectly hilarious because they were listening to this kids' song played insanely loud and everything was going to crap. There were also some jokes that were more on the dark side. An example of this is when they are riffing on the idea that Sandeep has a new album called Color Me Incredulous, with the new hit single "You Can't Bury That Many Bodies at Sea." That seemed so much like a joke people would make without actually thinking about it. Like I make dark jokes like that when I am working on projects with friends. I hope I wouldn't make a joke in this serious a situation, but I think when people do, it is because they are not really thinking about it and they want the humor to defuse the serious situation.

People who would like this show are people who like complex characters, searching for bugs while listening to Moana, and petite scones. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. It is such a great story and so well acted. It combined humor, reality, and possible dystopian futures. I really loved it.

Photos: Joel Maisonet

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