Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Technology


My Technology
Presented by Deena Levy Theatre Studios
Conceived and directed by Deena Levy

Personal monologues – that is, autobiographical monologues – are tough to pull off. They need to work without drama. They need to be so personal that they’re universal. We need to like the actor, to identify with them, and to see our own faults in them.

My Technology, presented by Deena Levy Theatre Studio, is a set of nine of this sort of monologue, revolving around technology and its effect on our personal life (although in truth some of them touch on technology only in passing).

The best monologue, which is very good and the only one that works for us, is Danny Patrick’s piece Deaf Man Crossing. Mr. Patrick was in a coma for 12 days after a bar fight. When he woke he had lost most of hearing. The pacing of his work is very nice; we have the time to relate to what he’s saying and to care about him. There are particularly welcome moments when he relates talking to his grandmother, also hearing disabled, on the telephone. The technology tie-in refers to the earbuds he wears.

There are some other nice points in the evening. Graceann Dorse has one when she says “I know what it means to wait for luck.” And Tom Miller has an interesting moment when he talks about virtual sex and says guiltily “I know I should want someone to want me in her life.”

But for the most part the evening fails. We can’t follow some of the monologues; the performers leave us behind. It was all conceived and directed by Deena Levy, and she seems to have encouraged about half her actors – the excitable ones – to speak as quickly as possible. She’s given us the same tone between and within many of the monologues, without dynamic differentiation. We’re given little insight into technology, only routine observations like “I think I’m getting addicted to this new cyber-version of myself.”

From time to time the actors in My Technology are endearing with their nervous smiles, but on the whole they leave no impression on us.