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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / ‘untethered’: An Odyssey Into the Quarter-Life Crisis

‘untethered’: An Odyssey Into the Quarter-Life Crisis

by Pasadena Independent
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Dancers Gabriella Rhodeen and Eli Weinberg. - Photo by Kathryn Roberts

Dancers Gabriella Rhodeen and Eli Weinberg. – Photo by Kathryn Roberts

By Nathaniel Cayanan

 

What do you get when you put a neurotic yoga instructor, a Ph.D. student, his opium addict father, and a mysterious nymph-like woman in a play together? untethered, the new production written by Julia Edwards and directed by Jen Bloom. The unconventionally-produced play tells the story of a woman who begins to have a series of dreams about her boyfriend dying, which leads her and said boyfriend into a fantastical journey of the mind.

In a sense, the play can be split up into two initially disjointed stories that take a while to meld together. The first involves an “Inception-y” state of mind in which people can jump back and forth in time, stealthily spy on their significant others and eavesdrop on their thoughts; the second, a complex relationship between two millennials who really like to psychoanalyze each other and have very conflicting perspectives on love and marriage. While witnessing what can be seen as a quarter-life crisis can be slightly irritating, Edwards fortunately writes her characters knowing that such sentiments are naive, making the growth of these characters by the end of the play poignant and honest. This helps the writing transcend from what can initially be seen as the ramblings of drunken college students the day before graduation to a profound epiphany that one cannot truly understand love, but only have and give it while one is still alive.

This, accented with the choice to ditch the traditional stage and utilize Mountain View Mausoleum–and not just one room, mind you, but also halls, staircases, Christian paintings on the ceiling and haunting acoustics–truly make the theatre experience quite unique. In the second half of the play, in fact, the audience is required to follow the actors to other parts of the mausoleum. Aided only by a few flashlights to illuminate the actors as they perform, we walk down dark corridors with white marble walls filled with dead bodies and listen to the poetic dialogue echo throughout the halls.

Still, the disjointed narrative that tries to incorporate the far-fetched and somewhat random idea of time traveling through dreams, along with some of the curious creative choices such as occasional interpretative dancing, may be a little off-putting. But, with a wonderful performance from Joy Osmanski, who skillfully balances neurosis and personability (especially in her opening monologue), the beautiful aesthetics of the mausoleum, clever utilization of space and admirable ambition to bring all together, “untethered” becomes a fascinatingly innovative accomplishment.

untethered will play until June 7th, 2015 at Mountain View Mausoleum, 2400 N. Fair Oaks Ave. Altadena, CA 91001. Show days and times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. There will be no shows on Memorial Day Weekend or Saturday, May 30th. Tickets can be purchased for $30 each at www.plays411.com/untethered or by calling (323) 960-1054.

Joy Osmanski in Mausoleum. - Photo by Kathryn Roberts

Joy Osmanski in Mausoleum. – Photo by Kathryn Roberts

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