The New Colony’s take on Otherkin—people who identify as at least partially non-human—is intriguing and confounding.
Lucy is a mess. She’s a walking contradiction. She contains great power, much of which is wasted through her own erratic behavior and questionable choices. She’s a creature of unbelievable focus who nevertheless rarely makes sense. She seems to understand a great deal about how the world works without knowing much of anything about herself. She’s sometimes fascinating, sometimes unbearable, and always frustrating.
That pretty much sums up both Lucy, a young woman trying to embrace her truest self—an otherworldly dragon named Kreeka—and the play she inhabits. It’s tough to parse Kin Folk, a sometimes dazzling and frequently confusing world premiere from playwright William Glick. Does one praise its layered, thoughtful look at identity, or call out the scattered, oddly-paced staging? Discuss the performances, largely wonderful, or contemplate the bewildering design elements? There’s a lot going on, sometimes a bit much, but one thing can’t be denied: Kin Folk might not be great, but it’s never boring.
Much of that is due to the performers, all good to excellent, as well as the playwright. The script may be a bit of a mess, but Glick and the ensemble approach all the characters with equal parts compassion and scrutiny. As Lucy, Annie Prichard gets both the choicest moments and the most problematic, but her performance, unburdened by vanity or self-indulgence, never falters. She’s ably assisted by the rest of the cast, in particular Steve Love (as her elfin guide to a new community) and Alexia Jasmene (as Lucy’s transgender sister Eleanor), both of whom practically radiate warmth and vulnerability. Kin Folk’s story is one worthy of their considerable talents, as well as those of projection designer Paul Deziel, but it’s hard not to wish that Glick and director Evan Linder had given as much love to the world they’re building as to the characters who inhabit that world.
The New Colony at the Den Theatre. By William Glick. Directed by Evan Linder. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins; no intermission.