Theater review: 'Post' at Complex (The Flight) Theater
The suicide rate for members of the Army is expected to top last year’s record-breaking total. “Post,” a minimalist drama written by and starring Donavon Thomas at The Flight Theater, imagines one scenario behind that grim statistic.
Readjusting to civilian life after a rough tour of Iraq, Michael (Thomas) moves in with fellow vet and longtime friend Chuck (Nathanyael Grey), who works as an EMT. Michael’s dad (David Pantsari) hopes the boys will take care of each other, but just the opposite happens when Chuck’s stalled crush on vegan baker Autumn (Jamie Renee Smith) gets waylaid by Michael. We’re in for a classic love triangle going bad, fueled by PTSD, alcohol and soy bacon.
This production, played out in an appropriately dumpy apartment set, is clearly meant to showcase Thomas’ talents. As a performer, he’s an appealing presence, goofy and vulnerable. (The ensemble finds a nice rapport, and an easygoing humor carries some of the flatter scenes.) Director Timothy Gagliardo accentuates the playfulness — there’s a very funny Halloween scene — but lets too much air into the scenes, leaving us to wait for the inevitable violence rather than be surprised by it.
As a writer, Thomas is still discovering how to generate event. The play feels more like a series of improvs than a narrative with a point of view, and it’s not evident what questions “Post” wants to frame. Did war break these men? Are some people just bad? We’re left with loss but not much insight.
– Charlotte Stoudt
“Post” Complex (The Flight) Theater, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Dec. 20. $10-$15. Contact: www.plays411.net. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Photo: David Pantsari, Donavon Thomas, Nathanyael Grey. Photo credit: Ravi Gahunia.