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Deepest Man: In brief
Playwright James Scruggs and director Mark Rayment dive into questions of grief and modern celebrity culture in a high-tech tale of a man who seeks spiritual help through extreme diving in the wake of his wife's death.
Deepest Man: Theater review by Diane Snyder
Water is both healer and destroyer in James Scruggs’s Deepest Man, a hallucinogenic multimedia mélange highlighted by stunning holographic projections. Attempting to assuage the guilt he feels over the drowning death of his wife, Dr. Hazzardville Sommers (Spencer Barros) seeks refuge in free diving—swimming underwater minus a breathing apparatus—and the words of a talk-show host (Alva Chinn). The best he can do in the institution to which he’s confined, however, is dunk his head in a basin.
That image becomes a hologram, as do ones of a female diver, a dress, and even blobs of dirty and clean water. “We are mostly water…we can be restructured,” Hazzardville tells three patients (Vienna Carroll, Miguel Reis and Libby Skala), who all saw loved ones drown during natural disasters.
As impressive as the 3-D elements of Mark Rayment’s diffuse production are, the pièce de résistance is a chilling segment in which the three describe their ordeals, heightened by the sounds of a storm and lit by a spotlight alternating from one to another. Deepest Man reaches genuine heights when not getting lost in its own depths.—Theater review by Diane Snyder
THE BOTTOM LINE Neat F/X enliven this watery tale of grief.
Follow Diane Snyder on Twitter: @DianeLSnyder