One gets the idea that TUTA has taken the title of Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins’s slight fable rather too literally: it’s better as a painting then as a play. Martin Andrew’s elegant set draws on Asian design to create a crisply minimal backdrop for director Zeljko Djukich’s inventive staging. A wash of paper blossoms signals the end of a long flood; a character’s broken heart is mirrored by a casually dropped flower. It’s a shame that the play’s language doesn’t take its cue from this simple but eloquent visual design. Instead, Dawkins indulges in a cloying, quasi-poetic idiom that ends up blunting the effect of his clever, if inconsequential, plot. During the flood, we learn, “fingers and toes have been impersonating prunes” for an awful lot of seconds, more than make up a year. Later, one character declares with a straight face, “I feel the years piling up like pancakes.” And several characters seem to labor under the curious notion that the philosopher Zeno’s name begins with an X. The cast struggles valiantly to shape coherent characters out of the sea of prolixity: Mike Driscoll’s Old Man and Alice Wedoff’s Girl are the most successful. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.