Kaleidoscope Theatre Company
Marshall Mays, Artistic Director; Anthony Catanzaro, Managing Director
God & Mr. Smith
Written by Travis Baker
Directed by Marshall Mays
Based on the March 14 – April 6, 2003 run at The Mint Space
Scott Aronow - Sets
Michael K. Berelson - Lights
Anthony Catanzaro - Costumes
William Cusick – Sound
Springer/Chicoine – Press
Birgit Darby, Todd Allen Durkin, Daryl Lathon, Lucy McMichael
Michael Nathanson, Najla Said, Dan Snow and Jim Wisniewski
GOD & MR. SMITH is an uneven comedy about being "erased" from society by the mere fault of a computer error. A topic that is ripe for ribbing, this exploration of Big Brother gone wrong goes in too many directions to make a clear, ironic point.
A slow start gives way to an often gripping, funny and manic middle. The work, unfortunately, bottoms to a weak whimper of a denouement. What is truly disheartening about this is that Travis Baker’s play exhibits oh so much talent, that were it for some needed script tweaking, a hint of casting and/or directing changes, and the fortification of the ending (without the gratuitous nude scene, one would hope), GOD & MR. SMITH would really be edging in on the witty, socially relevant script it so desperately yearns to be.
The comedy and energy are mainly due to Najla Said, as an actress-receptionist, Michael Nathanson, as the director of one of those freaky "downtown" plays, and Todd Allen Durkin, as a postman made redundant by technology, and left to wander the streets. As characters that cross Mr. Smith’s (Jim Wisniewski) deleted path, we are glad that he has met folks with life beyond i.d. numbers. For, Mr. Smith, as far as society, the banks, the IRS, the utility companies, and even his wife and parents are concerned, is persona non grata without his all-important microchip identity to validate him. The computers delete him, so the people closest to him abandon him. Ummm, what? Exactly.
There are enough funny elements to please a less critical theatergoer, and I do look forward to more from the playwright, even a redo of this, GOD & MR. SMITH.
- Kessa De Santis -