Saturday, March 5, 2016

Random Mutation

Why are intellectuals so bad at dirty talk?

That was just one of the questions posed in HATTheatre's latest production, "Creating Claire," their entry for the Acts of Faith Festival and a fairly obvious one at that.

Sometimes with the AoF productions, faith is a bit more of a concept than it was in this story of a formerly agnostic woman who works at a science museum as an "Origins of Life" guide and one day goes off script to ponder if perhaps there wasn't "intelligent design" behind it all.

Cue the choir of angels singing.

Her boss is having none of it. "Intelligent Design is just creationism with a better press agent," she informs her. "All the designers I know are either gay men or Jewish women."

Come on, that's pretty funny stuff.

Complicating things is her autistic teen-aged daughter who has met another autistic teen in a chat room she's not supposed to be in. Things are going well as they commiserate about being labeled as retards, but once he finds out she and her family don't believe in god, it's another story.

And the whole thing is a disaster for her loving and agnostic husband who emphatically insists that she not teach their daughter her new found faith beliefs, which are also destroying their marriage.

He was the one she called out about his lousy dirty talk when he refers to her as "nasty mama" while they're sitting on the sand at Myrtle Beach watching the sunset.

Except as anyone with half a brain knows, it isn't possible because the sun sets in the west, not over the Atlantic. But I digress.

Claire's boss Victoria sees no choice but to fire her since she can hardly have a creationist-spouting tour guide at her science museum. What was difficult for her (and this audience member) to accept was that Claire immediately hires a lawyer to fight it, despite her long-time friendship with her boss.

"There is nothing more insidious than a person with a higher purpose and a lawyer," she tells Claire, effectively articulating what I was thinking at that very moment.

Nailing the mannerisms and repetitive nature of her speaking role, Emma Grace Bailey was the standout as the autistic daughter. It was heartbreaking watching her trying to process her parents' arguments and desperately wanting to connect with a boy so she would feel loved.

The only problem with a play such as this one is that everybody in the audience falls on one side or the other when it comes to the $64,000 question (antiquated reference there). Either the universe took 14 million years to be created or it took seven days, your call.

My companion and I certainly weren't the only ones groaning at Claire's hyper-religious lines such as, 'She's in a better place now," when Victoria's partner finally dies after a protracted illness, but we'd also already agreed at intermission that we could find nothing sympathetic about Claire's character whatsoever

And that's really the crux of who'll be better able to relate to the play. Much as I enjoyed it, those of us who come down on the evolution side are bound to tire of Claire quickly.

Although given that this is already the season for crazies in the spotlight, what's one more?

Also, I refuse to believe that every intellectual fails at dirty talk. It's all in how you define the dirty part, no?

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