Fresh Ice Productions, Inc.
in association with
Jack W. Batman and Greg Schaffert
By BRIAN DYKSTRA
59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59 St., NYC
February 9 through March 12, 2006
Directed by MARGARETT PERRY
Set and Lighting Design MARUTI EVANS
Costume Design JENNIFER R. HALPERN
Production Manager/Sound Design KEN HYPES
Production Stage Manager PAIGE VAN DEN BURG
Press Representative OPR/ORIGLIO PR
Mister Cutter – Brian Dykstra
Mister Slate – Mark Boyett
Jackie – Sue-Anne Morrow
CLEAN ALTERNATIVES is one of those well meaning works that cannot quite decide what genre it wants to be. It starts off strongly, suggesting a tautly scripted comedic play about pollution and those who profit from it. Soon, and repeatedly, the piece digresses into a part performance piece part political speech series that lacks the dramatic structure one expects from a play.
What Brian Dykstra presents in CLEAN ALTERNATIVES is a scenario where two lawyers (Cutter and Slate) attempt to convince a business owner (Jackie) to sell her pollution rights to their client. Without a formal contract, any sort of paper trail, and an agreement that is based firmly in the lawyers’ non-stop and often baseless banter, the entire set-up and flawless delivery is what works the very best in this piece. However, when Jackie becomes the leader of a new movement, utilizing a def poetry type delivery style in her speeches, and Mr. Slate leaves his life of cutthroat legal tactics to be by her side, things go awry.
CLEAN ALTERNATIVES could be socially relevant if it didn’t beat the audience over the head with political point of view to such an extent that even the like-minded will be thinking, "Enough already!" When even the dialogue lacks subtlety, the last thing a work meant to function as a play needs is a lot of overkill speeches. I, for one, got the point a couple of minutes into it. Mr. Dykstra should have more confidence in his ability to effectively convey his point to the audience.
- Kessa De Santis -