By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
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FUTURE TRIPPING, an independent production at LOFT Ensemble has completed its run. If you missed it, they say they’ll be back. In the meantime, I’m hoping the team gives it a clean sweep. It needs work.
Written and directed by Brian Gene White the absurd comedy attempts to take on suicide as one of its issues through lead character Maddie who shows up one day at her estranged father’s doorstep with the dead body of her future self. And so, begins a surreal story of a father and daughter who grapple with all the ways their complicated relationship continues to go wrong.
The players are interesting enough. Actor Michael Fitzpatrick as Dad is quite good in his role. But then, his character is favorably written as a typical father, learning to examine himself, and by degrees, emotionally open up to a daughter he hardly knows. On the other hand, even though the plot centers around Maddie (Heather Schmidt), the writing puts her character in the opposite, deep, dark corner of one-dimensional female hysteria. This leaves Schmidt, otherwise well-known for her exceptional comedic talent, with nothing to do but scream and overdramatize every bit of PTSD-laden dialog for most of the play. It’s not terrible. In fact, it’s mostly appropriate. But it becomes repetitive enough to slightly blind us from the really beautiful evolution, happening on stage, of a father and daughter in the most extraordinary circumstance.
It takes a long time to get to any sort of resonance with this production and the ideas of time travel, space, suicide, and family. And in 140 minutes, with an added intermission, that was a little too long. The audience really has to stay awake as ideas fly by at rapid speed. And, although the objectives and motives are clear much of this production just doesn’t synergize. Certainly not when detective Berry (Amalea Vidas) shows up to investigate the dead body in a fairly erroneous scene.
Schmidt’s and Fitzpatrick’s outputs are 100% in a play that is simple and bizarre, potentially existential, and quite interesting. But directionally, FUTURE TRIPPING could benefit from a different point of view other than that of the writer.
There is, however, a calm satisfaction to be had in the finale where Maddie’s decisions take her and her father’s future.
CAST AND CREW:
Michael Fitzpatrick – Dad/Costume Designer/Producer
Heather Schmidt – Maddy/Producer
Amalea Vidas – Detective Berry/Lawyer
Brian Gene White – Playwright/Director/Producer
CJ Merriman – Producer
Kelly Lozo – Producer
Emme Perkins – Assistant Director/ASM
Silas Jean-Rox – Stage Manager
Atria Pirouzmand – Prop Designer
Ali Roustaei – Set Designer
Mike Munson – Composer/Musician
Mitch Rosander – Technical Director
Martha Carter – Lighting Designer
Tor Brown – Lighting Designer