See You

From left: Adriane Moreno, Crawford M. Collins, Christina Toth, and Hamish Allan-Headley, with Charlie Reid upstage, in Guillaume Corbeil’s  See You.

From left: Adriane Moreno, Crawford M. Collins, Christina Toth, and Hamish Allan-Headley, with Charlie Reid upstage, in Guillaume Corbeil’s See You.

If nothing else, the Bridge Production Group deserves a shout-out for tackling difficult material. Just 10 minutes into a mere 70 minutes’ running time, See You, by Canadian writer Guillaume Corbeil, is more than likely to provoke thoughts of how swiftly mortal lives are over, and whether your own demise will occur before the play ends. In short, See You is a stultifying, irritating work—playwriting by lists.  

Each of the five actors begins by greeting the audience, then describing themselves (or their characters, since they are not named). One starts: “Sex: Female. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Dirty Blonde. 5 foot 6. Born August 2nd. I am single.” Soon however, they kick into high gear, as Corbeil drops names and throws out cultural references in lieu of characterization. For instance, from one character (Crawford M. Collins):  

From left: Reid, Moreno and Toth (foreground) play unnamed characters in  See You.

From left: Reid, Moreno and Toth (foreground) play unnamed characters in See You.

Motto: Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?
(Smile)
Interests: Music
Woody Allen
Cheeseburgers at 4 am
Style: a style all my own
Kangaroo
Vintage leather jacket
Jeans
Cotton camisole
Ray-Bans
G-Star
Miss Sixty
Vintage
Urban Outfitters
American Apparel
Club: Blue Diamond
Drink: A shot of Jack
Restaurant: Punjabi Palace
Music: Indie rock

And so on. Each continues interminably reciting places and things, until there’s a shift to each showing selfies of a party they all went to, but where they split up, and where each ended up.

Three
We went to a party his friends were throwing
(Photo)
Under the viaduct
(Photo)
it was the team from EatMe productions who organized it
(Photo)
They had just finished filming the new video for Elephantic Psychopaths
(Photo)
The entire music scene was there
(Photo)
I have never been to a more intense party
(Photo)
Those people do not mess around when it comes to a party
When they party

From left: Collins, Moreno and Reid.

From left: Collins, Moreno and Reid.

Eventually, it seems, that some didn’t go to the party, or that the party was representative of a lot of parties. Time moves forward.

Two: That’s why I didn’t go out with you the other night.
Three: You mean three years ago?
Two: Is it already three years later?
One: It’s today.
Three: It’s been three years since we went out.

Suffice it to say, however, that watching actors looking at cellphones and reciting the labels of photographs ranks high among soul-deadening theatrical experiences, and time in this production seems, like Hurricane Dorian, to linger disastrously.

It’s to the actors’ credit that without any character names they have differentiated the numbers they’re playing. Director Max Hunter has wisely cast performers with distinctive looks who also manage to give particular qualities to their nebulous characters. Hamish Allan-Headley is the athletic-looking male in a hoodie; Charlie Reid is slender and intellectual. Christina Toth is blonde, a bit giggly, and easygoing; Adriane Moreno is stylish and runs with influencers; Collins starts as reserved and sullen but becomes more intense.

Nicolle Allen’s costumes assist by assigning each a color to help keep them straight, although if your only marker for a character is saffron or burgundy, and what they spout holds no interest, their clothes aren’t going to matter. The dialogue, mostly lists, and sometimes just participial phrases, couldn’t sparkle if Laurence Olivier or Eva Le Gallienne were reciting it (and they’d have been wise enough not to become involved, though these young actors are to be commended for trying):

Moreno and Allan-Headley in a physical moment. Photographs by Callum Adams.

Moreno and Allan-Headley in a physical moment. Photographs by Callum Adams.

Me looking out the window
(Photo)
Me taking my laundry out from the wash
(Photo)
Me hanging it out to dry
(Photo)
Me waiting for it to dry while eating a can of pineapple
(Photo)
Me folding my shirts
(Photo)
Me folding my underwear
(Photo)
Me putting together my pairs of socks
(Photo)
A sock who’s [sic] match I can’t find

The mundane descriptions eventually give way to more critical moments in the characters’ lives, as they endure medical crises and worse. One of them (Allan-Headley) goes to prison, another (Toth) becomes a call girl, and another (Reid) descends into drug-fueled decadence; those experiences apparently come with (unseen) photos too:

Five: Me in my prison cell
(Photo)
My cellmate
(Photo)
Everyone calls him Killer Mike
(Photo)
Killer Mike forcing me to give him head
Photo
Three: Brian Tippet doing me in the ass
Photo
Five: Killer Mike doing me in the ass
Photo
Two: A client who pays extra to do me up the ass

Cheyenne Sykes has contributed some projections, and near the end parts of Seth Byrum’s scenery are overturned, as some physical action creeps in. The ending finally comes alive both visually and aurally, but getting there isn’t really worth the slog.

The Bridge Production Group’s See You runs through Sept. 21 at the New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher St.). Evening performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and on Sunday, Sept. 8; matinees at 3 p.m. are on Sept. 7 and 15. For tickets and information, call (866) 811-4111 or visit newohiotheatre.org.

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