Daredevil: In brief
Meghan Finn directs Gary Winter's surreal summer offering, in which a stage manager guides audiences through a variety of imaginative vignettes.
Daredevil: Theater review by Christopher Kompanek
13P alum Gary Winter’s Daredevil unfolds like a set of Russian nesting dolls taken apart mid–acid trip by a cheery existentialist. A lyrical story about a mountain and the people it attracts frames this series of connected vignettes in an evening of vaudevillian experimentalism. Like all worthwhile journeys, it has an excellent guide in the sardonic Monique Vukovic, who doubles as narrator and stage manager, highlighting the artifice and laying bare mechanisms that are usually carefully hidden.
Winter dispenses with the fourth wall in a sarcastic preamble delivered by Vukovic (“You may come and go as you please…it is our feeling that if the actors are not doing anything of interest to you, then they are most likely doing little to interest everyone else in the theater"). If such instructions were taken to heart, there might be many sudden exits and reentries as the material shifts from enchanting to banal and back again.
At its best, Winter’s off-kilter dialogue and Meghan Finn’s funhouse direction stir philosophical musings on grand questions of existence with a light touch. Wearing two mismatched shoes (one for “exercise” and the other for “contemplation”) Harry (Jack Frederick)—a resistance fighter battling an unnamed army—is pressed by his comrade Elizabeth (Sammy Tunis) to explain why he hasn’t remedied the imbalance. “I like having both options on my feet all the time even though I do neither,” he responds, eloquently articulating the stasis of their lives.
Drawn-out modern interpretations of Shakespeare by three “Aspiring Actresses” (played with self-absorbed distinction by Melissa Diaz, Alaina Ferris and Tunis) don’t fare as well, despite strong performances. Likewise, a couch-potato monk (played to zany, schlemiel perfection by Sam Soghor) is intermittently entertaining. Elevator Repair Service regular Mike Iveson—a gentle, affable presence—appears memorably as a monster; it’s that kind of show.—Theater review by Christopher Kompanek
THE BOTTOM LINE Strong performances and inventively realized vignettes make this uneven experiment worth seeing.