By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
What emerges as the play careens from the elegance of the opening aria to a futuristic, X-Files dystopia is a stock hostage drama in which the professor is kidnapped by her "late" husband (Bob McCracken), who's leading an underground terrorist campaign against the Company (which has evidently replaced the Government). The Company appears to have deleted entire museum-shrines of literature, dutifully entered into computer memory banks, in order to willfully promote ignorance and to control the population. And the promotion of ignorance has a long-standing tradition in our culture.
The professor's beef is that her husband's campaign is beside the point, or points, poured and smudged from the tips of pens. It's a romantic, anachronistic plea for the sanctity of written words, and libraries that hold books, and what that preserves within us — the ability to concentrate, to meditate, to be human and humane rather than guinea pigs at keyboards.
Nice performances also by Edward Tournier and Zarah Mahler as the husband's militant cohorts. But even Jessica Kubzansky's sleek staging, amplified by John Zalewski's sound design, can't bridge the chasm between the linguistically and historically bountiful eloquence of the opening soliloquy and the comparatively trite theatrical devices that follow. The professor is taken hostage, held blindfolded between a poem and a thriller, like the play itself. It's hard to make or to receive a ruminative point about privacy and the beauty in the curve of a letter when there's a gun at your head.
WATSON | By JAIME ROBLEDO | Presented by SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, L.A. | Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (added perfs Thurs., Nov. 18, and Dec. 2, 8 p.m.); through Dec. 11 | (310) 281-8337
FUTURA | By JORDAN HARRISON | Presented by THEATRE @ BOSTON COURT, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena | Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 7 | (626) 683-6883