Wait of the World
nytheatre.com review by Jason S. Grossman
July 19, 2009
Wait of the World begins in a classroom, then immediately moves to various locales around Planet Earth. Our planet is racing towards the sun, and our days are numbered. This is not the typical play but an imaginative performance piece told with poetry, dialogue, music, and chemical reactions.
The daring production addresses our looming apocalypse with care. A young boy's very existence effects large-scale global phenomena like seismic activity or shifts in the Earth's rotational axis. Every step the child takes brings about cataclysmic changes to the Earth's physical dimensions. One lone doctor is aware of the boy's power and spends a career-long pursuit to save the planet.
Jeremy Bloom directs a fascinating presentation. With the use of music and evocative lighting (from on and off stage) he creates a trance-like atmosphere while effectively conveying writer Peter Dagger's text of cautionary messages. The clever dialogue often ridicules modern science.
In an incredibly inventive use of the space, the stage is transformed into a multi-tiered, multi-disciplinary laboratory. Even the tech booth is utilized successfully. The lighting effects, while seemingly simple, are a feast for the eyes. Music selections and sound effects are carefully interwoven with the dialogue and are never overpowering.
The actors channel various characters in the presentation: a dedicated doctor trying to stop the inevitable destruction of the planet; the majestic Mayan Priestess musing about a pre-industrial age; the ineffectual scientific researcher lamenting over statistical anomalies; and Adam Moody, the young man who's very heartbreak is hastening the destruction of our planet.
There is much food for thought here: If humans can collectively cause global warming and throw our entire ecosystem out of whack, then why couldn't one boy representing all of us bring about our destruction over the course of, say, a short lifetime?
The group of actors do a very nice job and are all invested in the production, remaining focused even when the action doesn't involve them. They are also adept at interacting with the various lamps, beakers, and liquids that inhabit the playing area.
With the ongoing debates regarding the threats of global warming the production is timely. We all affect the earth and should be concerned with what is happening to it. This is an ideal production for the Planet Connections Festivity.