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LA Theater Review

The Big Random

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If there is any point to Dana Yeaton's play, it is totally obscured by this disastrous production during which actors jabber meaningless dialogue at each other instead of actually communicating. An unlikely premise is made even more incredible by inferior direction and bad acting. The title aptly describes the action, which is erratic and capricious, while the characters' motivations elude the spectator.
The story line leaves a wealth of questions unanswered and much of the behavior unexplained. Claire (Madison Flock), on the verge of her 16th birthday, is a patient in a psychiatric hospital who's given to cutting herself. She also concocts violent scenarios in her imagination as though mapping out scenes for a film. We get no insight into the root of her emotional state, and one wonders if she might be a budding slasher filmmaker whose troubles will be eased once she enjoys a lucrative outlet for her angst.
A stranger named Roland (Eric Charles Jorgenson) appears unexpectedly, claiming to be Claire's godfather, and she maneuvers him into helping her escape the institution, whereupon they embark upon a pilgrimage that takes them through the wilderness areas of Vermont, deep into Quebec, and ultimately to the shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, mother of the Virgin Mary. Although Roland says he vowed to look out for Claire when she was a baby and alludes to having had an affair with her mother, wrecking her parents' marriage, his sudden appearance at the hospital and his willingness to run away with her remain unjustified and don't ring true.
The moment-by-moment activity and the dialogue are arbitrary and lack any dramatic import. Director Sam Roberts has neglected to examine the characters' inner lives, so that Flock's performance, in which she merely mouths her lines, is all on the surface and is petulant rather than poignant. Jorgenson has a certain easy believability but seems to be working all by himself.
Rarely has an evening in the theatre been so painful.

Presented by Sight Unseen Theatre Group at the Attic Theatre & Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. April 10-May 10. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. (No 7 p.m. performance Sun., May 10.) (323) 960-7776. www.plays411.com/bigrandom.



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