nytheatre.com review by Di Jayawickrema
June 15, 2011
Spaceship Alexandria, an original feature presented in The Brick's Comic Book Theater Festival, is a library spaceship rock show set at the edge of the universe. The Comic Book Festival is an effervescent attempt to bring comics, theater, and pop culture together, and this play embodies the spirit of this effort. Star Wars references and Converse sneakers, armchair philosophy and yoga poses collide on the cluttered stage of Spaceship Alexandria, which is likewise a fun albeit somewhat muddled affair.
It is the year 2152 and spaceship Alexandria has been set adrift in space to protect the sum total of mankind's knowledge, which has been saved in the spaceship's server and is accessed through Luci, the AI (artificial intelligence) library curatorial unit. The prologue, which is conveyed through the program featuring a series of comic book panels, reveals how Luci convinces her human boyfriend, Jesse, the IT expert on board, to give her a body so they can be together physically. The script written by Dan and Jon Cottle, explores questions of sexuality and gender—including transgender and AI—and the existential angst plaguing all the young misfit crew members with haphazard merriment. The eccentric crew has been holed up for years in a floating library and they no longer know who they are or why they are on this journey. The constant refrain "What is the purpose of this mission?" echoes throughout the show as the characters flounder through their seemingly meaningless daily tasks. Of the cast, Melissa Chambers as Cooper, an omnisexual, multiple-time transgendered being, gives the best performance, taking the somewhat messy but joyfully madcap script in stride and hitting the best comedic notes in it. There are many half-finished serious thoughts here as well, a couple of which cleverly hit home, but a few more workshops of this production would help to flesh these ideas out.
The set is a chaotic, gleeful hodgepodge that is littered with "high tech" pieces and books, and flooded with green lighting and well-timed sound effects. The indie rock original music of the show, created by Jon Cottle and Leon Pease, is pleasantly engaging, much like the show itself.