In this era of reality-based entertainment, Bobblehead
Productions has thrown its own satirical hat into the mix with a spoof
called THE PLANK PROJECT. Intended to lampoon well-known documentary
pieces such as THE LARAMIE PROJECT, and of late, THE EXONERATED,
this spoof, penned by Jeff Whitty could have been either brilliant or
disastrous. Instead, it hits that middle ground called promising.
This wink at our bottomless fascinations for the brutally
real, THE PLANK PROJECT introduces us to a pack of wayward New York
actors who journey to Plank, Washington over and over and over and over and
over again in an effort to learn the story of a fated, grossly obese,
mean-spirited transvestite who, following an Avon Lady makeover, and an
unfortunate encounter with Richard Simmons, becomes trapped in a well,
inspiring massive media attention. As our anti-hero, the doomed Abby Storch
comes to represent the desperate drive for "reality" that can turn even the
most unpleasant, uninteresting person into fodder for artistic expansion,
simply by virtue of having been a victim.
What the cast does well here is capture the
self-importance of the participants in these sorts of reenactments. There
are moments of anger and hysteria behind the scenes that one can only
imagine are like to happen out here in the real world. There are events and
characters that are created for dramatic reasons, but that sway the gut
integrity of the piece. There are tensions among the actors, even as they
are devoted to their ongoing investigation of the town called Plank, and one
man named Abby Storch. Sure, the inspiration for this comedy are some works
that were borne out of truly outrageous events, but that makes THE PLANK
PROJECT that much more likely to be ironically on target.
So close! THE PLANK PROJECT, flawed, but still
evoking a good laugh now and then.
- Kessa De Santis -