1. The writing is exceptional. This show goes from joke/punchline hilarious to sadly poetic and deeply personal, while still remaining universal in its exploration of themes of loneliness and the extremes we, as humans, go to avoid it.
2. Oh my god, it’s funny. And strange. And relatable. I somehow saw some of myself in each of the characters despite the fact that they were all larger than life.
3. The creativity and imaginative life of this show reminded me that you can take HUGE risks in theme and language without sacrificing honesty or heart. Sometimes, when I see projects that have heightened language or themes (simulated on-stage oral sex, sadism, masochism, characters admitting their darkest fears and/or desires), the extreme nature of the themes overrides the integrity of the characters or plot. In this case, the writer, director, and performers somehow balance it all so you never feel like anything or anyone is being exploited. It’s all, somehow, justified, entertaining, and heartfelt throughout. You can tell the writer and the actors love and accept these people (characters) in spite of their flaws.
Overall, this is a play about fantasy, imagination, rejection, pain, loneliness, hope, and the secret desire we all have to be considered brilliant by others. It’s bravely written, directed, and performed-and not brave in that “Um…I don’t know what to say after a play, so I’m gonna go with ‘brave,’” but brave in the actual definition of the word-fearlessly holding up a mirror to themes deep within our human nature, often hiding in our subconscious, and letting us know that we aren’t alone in the struggle.
What I didn't like
Because this was a preview, there are some technical kinks to work out. Often, when there was music or sound, the actors had to shout over the sound, and the audience was still left missing half of a hilarious monologue about an uncoordinated stripper and part of a kid’s oral report. It also felt a bit rushed. The language is elaborate at times, and sometimes I felt like the pace had me missing some information.
Taking place over 3 pivotal moments in the history of the American Video Store, our intimate story of clerks and customers examines the rise and fall of a cultural phenomenon that defined a generation.