04
Oct
13

Autobahn

 

Autobahn 

Underground Productions

Schonell Theatre

1 October – 4 October 2013

 

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

 

I’d never seen a production at the Schonell theatre until Tuesday night. Yes, I’d been there years ago when I attended college and there were awards or functions involved. I’ve even sat in a lecture or two in this building where it was close to impossible not to fall asleep in those soft, comfortable chairs. But to see Neil LaBute’s Autobahn staged by Underground Productions here was an entirely different experience.

 

You won’t have to worry about falling asleep is those damn comfy seats because you will be lead onto the stage where a small selection of chairs has been set up. Then you should fasten your seatbelt because the ride is winding, funny, sad, and vigorous at times.

 

Autobahn

 

My only lament is the arrangement of the seating. If you’re not in the front row you’re not going to see the show. It reminds me of when we were small children in the car playing Corners. You leaned far left when the car swung a corner, then far right when the car turned again, your parents yelled “Stop that now, don’t make me turn this car around,” and we cried “Yes! Yes! Turn the car around again!” That’s what it’s like sitting in the rows of the audience, leaning this way and that trying to get any view at all of the actors.

 

But for what was seen it was certainly an entertaining show. The cast, with Director, Meg Ham, had three weeks to put this production together and you can see on their faces each one of them want to say, “Come look what we have to show you!” And it is impressive how the mood shifts from scene to scene. Each of these vignettes has a completely different aura to the last but the transition is seamless.

 

I’m always curious about these collaboration shows…who owns what? Is there a copyright to each line, each character’s twitch or little habit? When the cast performs the show does one of them beam inward just a little, knowing that was their line, that’s their little signature on the show? Or is it a soviet union of actors’ creations, all for one and one for all. Everyone owns a little piece of the play and everyone does a little bit of the work? You can never truly know unless you’re there, inside the messy process of creating something yourself.

 

Autobahn seems to be something like that, a hybrid of the two. It’s an invisible car crash of creations. It’s like looking at your side mirrors and not seeing the oncoming car, but seeing a little moment flash by.

 

When you spot one of these minimalist productions that try to breach a new idea don’t hesitate. Flick on your blinkers, turn into the parking lot and see the show.

 

Autobahn

 

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