DEINDE Review: Doug Strassler, New York Press

Photo by Justin Hoch at jhoch.com. Pictured: David Ian Lee and Alyssa Simon. Post by August Schulenburg.

Doug Strassler is one of Flux’s oldest and most trusted reviewers, and it has been wonderful tracking his rise in stature. Currently, he’s reviewing for New York press, and he has a great review of DEINDE up – please check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

To begin, it’s wonderful that he places DEINDE in the BFG context, and notes the sci-fi explosion happening in the space (can’t wait for the conclusion of the Honeycomb trilogy!) It will be interesting to see if this momentum continues at the Secret after the BFG Collective ends (or transforms).

My favorite quote:

“What’s wonderful is just how much of this play’s progression happens in the minds of its characters, and, without showy visual effects, is communicated to the audience.”

I find this especially gratifying, because the play is very much about watching a new kind of consciousness be born, and that means that much of the growth is inward, even if it manifests itself (as it must) outwardly, as well.

His main criticisms are redundancy, a wish that Cooper and Nita’s story held more variety, and that Dara’s story was more fleshed out.

I agree most with the second criticism, and if there were one scene I could rewrite (and would if there is ever a second production) it is the end of the first act scene between Nita and Cooper. Coming as it does at the end of a very long first act, the dramatic stakes are simply not high enough (I think the scene could work as is earlier in the play, but not that close to the act break).

I disagree with the third criticism, as I am very pleased with Dara’s character – she feels to me like an entirely fleshed out human being in her two scenes, thanks in large part to Alyssa’s towering performance.

I’m on the fence with the redundancy critique: you could cut twenty minutes from the play (maybe more realistically ten) without fundamentally altering the plot, but the world would be reduced in scope as a price. There would be no baboon music, no jamming on six spacial dimensions, less journeys to the mountiantop of JenniMac’s experience, fewer delvings into the quantum trickery of the virus. If the play lasts longer than I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those cuts were made in future productions, but I would not make them myself.

And what do you think, dear reader? And do you have your tickets for our closing week yet?

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