Oda Might, a new play at Plan-B Theatre Company by local playwright Camille Washington, takes place entirely in one blank room of a hospital, characterized only by one large window. In this seemingly unremarkable space, Washington digs into a surprising character study between two women who seem to be opposites but carry some unexpected connections below the surface. Oh, and there’s a murder, a life of crime, and that window, which maybe isn’t so insignificant after all. At the very least, Oda Might is a lot more interesting than an actual visit to the doctor’s office.
What: Oda Might
When: Nov. 7-17, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Where: Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
How: Tickets are available on their website.
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The patient (Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin) is in custody in a mental hospital after being convicted for a murder she still denies. The doctor (Yolanda Stange) is treating the patient with a mix of incredulity and genuine understanding. The patient admits a history of crime and scamming, and even as she details her own history — with bad boyfriends, a surprising cross-country journey, and a sudden conversion to Christianity — both the doctor and the audience wonders if this is just another scam. Over the course of their session, the patient and doctor’s emotions simmer as the patient’s mysterious past blurs the line between the psychological and the supernatural.
Plenty of recent movies and TV shows — from Joker to Big Little Lies — have used the therapy room as an arena for rich drama, allowing characters to reveal hidden depths and unexpressed emotions. Oda Might takes this idea to its extreme — plot is only revealed through dialogue between the patient and the doctor, leaving audiences to fill in the imaginative gaps. The play could loosely be described as a psychological thriller, including some sudden plot twists, but the narrative is less linear (and harder to follow) than standard genre fare.
Director Cheryl Ann Cluff cleverly uses the small space at Plan B to her advantage, letting the actors and audience feel the claustrophobia of the single room. She encourages naturalistic, engaging performances from the actors. Darby-Duffin is a natural storyteller with an easy charisma — you can see why victims might fall under her spell. In the beginning, Stange seems to be stuck in the thankless role of a straight-woman, but her performance is instead a slow build, reaching viscerally powerful heights at the climax. I won’t spoil the play’s intense conclusion, but trust me when I say that Washington is unafraid of the abstract and unexpected.
Read more of Salt Lake Magazine’s theater coverage here.