“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” -William Shakespeare
Polarity Ensemble Theatre, in association with Azusa Productions, presents the world premiere of ADRIFT. Isaac has daddy issues. His father was traumatized by his wife’s death and the Viet Nam War. And Isaac wasn’t always the best son. Isaac is trying to make things right in his past by reconciling son to father. But it’s not his relationship. He is working to resolve the conflict between his student and the student’s father, who is also the principal. Meanwhile, Isaac is haunted by the memory of his father. ADRIFT has potential for a riptide of emotion but skims the surface.
Playwright David Alex draws together past and present problems between fathers and sons and the ripple effect. Alex introduces intriguing dilemmas for his characters, like, “Do I decide what’s going to happen to me?” and “Do theoretical problems have practical solutions?” He asks the compelling questions but his characters don’t really find the answers. Or at least not in an emotionally engaging manner. At points, the dialogue is witty word choices by Alex. Although I catch the humor, the audience’s reaction suggests they don’t. The cast is four guys under the direction of Maggie Speer. These guys are guys. At times, they are emotionally unavailable. They reach varied points of vulnerability but they stop short of a true, tender connection with each other or the audience. The moments sail by adrift.
Dennis Mae (scenic designer) and Jenna Moran (sound designer) set the mood for a watery oasis. Swirls of blue and green decorate the floor and backdrop. Sounds of waves lapping in the background lull us. We easily wade into the waters. But this show shouldn’t be about the shallow end. ADRIFT is built to be seafaring but it’s not in deep enough waters for inhabitants to sink or swim. Right now, ADRIFT is just floating along.
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
At Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln
Written by David Alex
Directed by Maggie Speer
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 2:30pm
Thru August 26th
Buy Tickets at www.greenhousetheater.org