A Wild Play fancies itself clever and philosophically learned, and I cannot blame it. In its 60 plodding minutes, the three protagonists shout and emote with great passion and ostentation about profound questions of existential, metaphysical, and epistemological import. Grand disputations about the meaning of life, nature, objectivity, love, and souls infuse the dialogue – much like the turgid seminars of a senile philosophy professor. The actors speak in complete, grammatically correct and exquisitely articulate sentences and paragraphs quite unlike the rhetoric of ordinary humans, forcing us simpletons in the audience to pay close attention and to imagine that the dialogue connotes something shrewd and perspicacious.
If I understood it correctly, the play’s drearily convoluted plot centers primarily on a familiar dramatic trope: the nebulous line between theatre and reality. Autumn (Josie Felt), a young woman seeking to audition for a play, bewilderedly awakens in a forest, or perhaps on a stage that looks like a forest, and encounters Clover (Gabriella Yacyk) and Squirrel (Shane O’Loughlin), who alternately behave like wild animals, neurotic humans, and remarkably eloquent philosophers. The questions they force Autumn to confront pierce the soul: What is real? How can we distinguish reality from fantasy? Is theatre different from real life? And why did Clover just urinate in that shoe?
Of course, the answers hardly matter, for A Wild Play seeks ultimately not to tell a great story, but to tantalize you with its erudition. Rather than weave its pivotal themes into the narrative with subtlety and grace, the script prefers to bludgeon the audience with prolix philosophical meanderings that overwhelm the plot and inhibit a suspension of disbelief. “This is a psychophysical experience with deep spiritual implications,” announces Clover at one putatively epiphanous moment. Alas, methinks she doth protest too much.
Running Time: 60 Minutes
A Wild Play information and tickets.