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Theater review: 'Preposterous' at the Eclectic Company Theatre

September 8, 2011 |  4:11 pm

Jason Britt and Rachel Kanouse in Eclectic Company Theatre's "Preposterous"
Jason Britt's “Preposterous,” initially an offering in the Eclectic Company Theatre's 2008 one-act festival, has been spun out into a world premiere at the Eclectic that runs just shy of 2 1/2 hours.

Why the playwright thought “Preposterous” warranted a longer format is anybody's guess.  Long-winded and abstruse, the play feels a bit like being cornered by a drunk at a very long party.

Alcohol and pot play a major role throughout. In the first scene, a wake for John (Erik Saari), the various mourners booze it up and indulge in fraught but cryptic exchanges about everything from the futility of love to the efficacy of Pringles in treating alcoholic nausea. 

The action then segues back in time -- a backward chronology supposedly intended to elucidate the whys and wherefores of specific relationships. Although a passionate and talented cast under Taylor Ashbrook’s astute direction struggles to flesh out Britt’s scanty outlines, the etiology of both characters and plot is consistently short-changed.

By diligent parsing, we conclude that Allen (Britt) is still carrying a major torch for Miranda (Angela Landis), although why she kicked him to the curb is never clear. 

Comical Kevin (John Klopping) canoodles aplenty with his girlfriend, Jackie (Laura Lee Bahr), sometimes in full view of their friends.  John’s girlfriend, Wendy (Rachel Kanouse), is devastated when John leaves town for points unknown. Where exactly John is headed, and how and why he dies, remains mysterious.
 
Perhaps all the dramatic ambiguity is intended to serve as some sort of existential commentary on the blurry psychology of disaffected youth.  As it stands, the lack of concrete information amid all the mounting verbiage seems frustratingly and unnecessarily coy.

-- F. Kathleen Foley

“Preposterous,” Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays.  Ends Oct. 9.  $18.  (818) 508-3003. www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org. Running time:  2 hours, 20 minutes.

Photo: Jason Britt and Rachel Kanouse. Credit: Chelsea Sutton.


 
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