Michael Bedford (photo: David Levine)
The Anti-Social Art of Flying
by Gregory Bunker
With cathartic laughs at the air industry’s expense, Steady State Theatre’s I Will Not Hatch! is a clever, quirky production. A Fringe favourite, playwright Maya Rabinovitch explores the question asked at every childhood sleepover: If your plane is going down and you know the end is near, how would you spend your final minutes?
Funny with flashes of darkness, it is entertaining and begins to hint at a deeper, darker message still emanating from the first sequence.
Actually, that is the material of the second half of this hour-long play. The passengers must first suffer the process of checking in and boarding the plane, which illuminates the strange banality of it all considering that the entire procedure assumes the worst in people. That commentary is certainly welcome: flying nowadays is an absurdly anti-social process and it’s nice to be able to laugh at that. Addressing the mayday scenario, the second half sees each character take their turn rationalizing redemption. Funny with flashes of darkness, it is entertaining and begins to hint at a deeper, darker message still emanating from the first sequence. Some characters are caricatures; others are just crazy. There’s enough variety to keep everyone interested, and the mad pace of the production makes the all-too-brief hour fly by.
An extremely tight and polished ensemble with playful choral work (Michelle Blore), the entire ten-person cast is capable of over-acting just enough to keep the comedy zany but not so over-the-top that the scenario is altogether unbelievable. “God Girl” (Kristina Alexis), “Safety Girl” (Jaclyn Zaltz), and “Boogeyman Boy” (Liam Morris) provide some priceless examples of how far the human mind will go with enough imagination. Likewise, Erin Fleck as Suzie does a remarkable job of highlighting the dangerous mix of a runaway imagination in the hijacking hysteria of flying post-9/11.
I Will Not Hatch! is more than just a comedic romp. Its energy, award-winning direction (Maya Rabinovitch), and unique and seamless structure of barreling through a plot that includes flashbacks and flash-forwards, is hysterical in every sense of the word. And as exaggerated as it may be, it fits: there’s enough truth to it that after the laughs, it makes you wonder if such hysteria really is funny after all. Check it out.
I WILL NOT HATCH! runs to May 11 at the Berkeley Street Theatre.
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