End's Eve: The Feast of 2012
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
August 10, 2007
All these tools we've invented for our convenience and for the purposes of dominating nature have brought us to the point where we have collectively forgotten our true place in nature. A Mayan prophet described a paradigm shift in which humans would return to their place in nature after a period of rapid advancements in technology and materialism. This shift will occur on December 21 (the winter solstice), 2012. End's Eve is set on the eve of that day.
A group of friends gather to eat and trip and dance and reflect on the world as it has become. There are no more honeybees. It's snowing in Soho but it's 112 in Central Park and there are crop circles on their living room carpet. Well, maybe that last part is the mushrooms talking, but the consequences of global warming are in full effect. There is a large screen on the back wall where we see odd news flashes, a clock counting down to midnight and occasionally a scene in another room. The ancient Mayan spirit of this prophecy has mysteriously bought his entry into this private party with pork chops. I have to say that the strange, and yet very possible, world of this play is what appealed to me most about it.
The nine adults and one child at this gathering don't seem concerned about an impending catastrophe or mass hysteria or religious comeuppance; rather, they have gathered on this eve in a sort of "what if all this end-of-the-world nonsense is true" sense, like we did on Y2K. There is a lot of intellectual dinner party prattle about creation and destruction, psychedelics, and Chinese takeout, but the story doesn't revolve around any one character. As a result, I wasn't entirely sure what they as a group are seeking, but I enjoyed the script nonetheless.
Playwrights Hilary Park and Jennifer Gnisci give us a very clever and often funny script with plenty of strange little moments and interludes to keep you expecting the unexpected. There are times when they explore perceptions of reality and I enjoyed those moments. However, there are a couple of moments between some characters that I couldn't attach myself to because I didn't understand their motivations. But director Erik Bryan Slavin helped me at least understand the mood by setting it throughout the play very well. He could have used a little more space for his large cast but he worked with what he had.
This is an ensemble piece and this ensemble rises very well to the occasion. Marnye Young is great as the quirky psychedelic explorer Tuly, and I enjoyed Devon Berkshire as the levelheaded Xi. Tony Naumovsky is funny and quite charming as the passionate tough guy Mick. The entire cast deserves praise for really coming together to make this show quite interesting and entertaining.
We may very well be headed toward a change in our way of preserving our place in nature but we'll just have to wait five years and see what happens. For now, End's Eve gives us a funny and crafty look at what might happen.