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The Lights Are Off

theatre · the working theatre · Ages 14+ · world premiere · United States

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Review by CAL BARNES

June 17, 2012
IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot certify this reviewer attended a performances of this show because no ticket was purchased through this website or the producer has not verified they attended.

My overall impression

This play is lucid.

It’s tough to write a review on a piece that is so intrinsically well done, so I’ll take a moment… I feel sometimes as a reviewer, critic, or friend, respectively, it’s easy to try and focus on the aspects in which a play can improve, rather then on the work itself. Then, every once in a while, a piece will come along that is so visceral, so true to life, that it will leave us completely breathless, lost in another place, a younger time… this is one of those pieces.

Matt Soson’s ‘The Lights are Off’ is one of the most well rounded, engaging, pieces of young theatre I have ever seen. His ability to write and create a story that so expertly weaves the lives of seven incredible characters together into one cohesive, thought provoking story which illuminates the ever-truthful, post-adolescent themes such as true love, perception and circumstance shows the make of a scriber much older than his young age of twenty three. His direction is so solid, and the writing is so witty, engaging, and truthful that the play practically moves forward by itself, from one engaging, ‘I am young and interesting,’ character to the next. This is the kind of piece where young actors can truly shine, where they are suppose to shine… and shine they shall.

TALENT. I think that’s the best word for it. Every single actor embodied their well-written roles beautifully, all the while bringing a piece of themselves to the part. Burnt (Michael Hawley), does a great job of portraying a could-be-every-young-man college burnout bent on survival, all the while moving the story forward with a certain maturity and sensitivity not initially expected from his characters initial, leading introduction. Burnt is then matched toe-to-toe with his boyish, bible-thumping roommate, Randy (Elijah Trichon), and Randy’s sultry sister Gwen, strongly portrayed by Rachel Lien, who doubles as Burnt’s favorite one night stand. From then on, the trio are forced to deal with an array of well-written, well-embodied, immediate characters… including the flighty Riley (Taylor Solomon), who was particularity brilliant, fun and interesting. I don’t believe there was a single smile missing from the audience whenever she was wafting about on stage.

Whether the lights remain ‘On,’ or ‘Off,’ ‘The Lights are Off’ is the best play I have seen this year. It expertly incorporates the universal, thematic elements which have yielded a great deal of longevity and staying power among young artists, seen in works such as Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘This is Our Youth’ and Eric Bogosian’s ‘Suburbia.’

‘GO.’… for what it’s worth, you very well may witness a landmark piece in youth theatre, and at the very least you’ll have a lot of fun!

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