I’ve always loved the joke about the Chinese cookie fortune: “May you live in interesting times.” The joke part is that the fortune is actually a curse. And while (in) divisible, currently playing in Plan-B’s space at the Rose Wagner, is a production about many, many things, I reckon it’s mostly about life in interesting times.
(in) divisible is a mosaic of 24 plays, performed in rapid progression in 5 minute blocks. The project was conceived by Plan-B as a response directly and indirectly to the election of Donald Trump and the vertigo that many of us felt when we realized maybe we didn’t understand our countrymen and countrywomen as well as we thought. Plan-B’s ringleader Jerry Rapier rounded up our community’s best playwrights and writers and asked them to write down whatever they felt like writing down, gathered up some actors and voila!
As the sum of its parts, (in) divisible is an interesting pastiche of thoughts—some shocking, some dumb, some trailing off half-finished while still others absurd. The topics are pretty much every hot button the playwrights could think to press: race, gender, sexuality, guns, religion, immigration and the whole rest of the stew of discord we’re swimming in these days. And while some shine brighter than others, they are all interesting, thought provoking, which is of course the point.
Many of the monologues, like Elaine Jarvik’s “Get Over It,” attempt to take provocative conservative stances but they feel more like thought experiments. Like the writer asking what if I thought like one of “them?” They are still tuned to the liberal, PBS ear that is certainly the type of folks who are at the theater on a Thursday night (the opening). The whole production amounts to 24 really good letters to the editor that while stirring to read (yeah! that!) is followed by that sinking feeling of once again being in the choir and nodding along with the preacher.
Still, despite a few pedantic segments, there are some very clever takes on the state of our world and I find myself a day later, running some of the bits through my mind—like Eric Eric Samuelsen’s Democracy where he blames all the karma that was spent to allow the Cubs to win the World Series on our current pickle. Or Debora Threedy’s two-part The Wall, about two mothers on opposite sides of a terrible incident at school and the resulting social=media disaster.
The production runs through June 18. The free tickets are tight but its easy to get a spot on the waitlist (CLICK HERE). The Thursday night performance I attended was supposedly sold out but there were plenty of empty seats. It’s summer, people get flaky.
I’d encourage you to try and see this production before it’s gone. Maybe if you have someone in your circle that you’ve been arguing with on Facebook since November, you could be brave and suggest an evening out at the theater. It may not solve your argument but it certainly will provoke some discussion and you never speak again.
Either way, WIN!