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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
A New World War
By David Avery
Antar (Niamh McCormally) has entered into such a contract, but finds her initial flush of possession waning into dislike and dissatisfaction. And who can blame her? The bubbly personality of Gauloise, the cyborg (Jack Littman) spouting random tidbits of personality designed to engage his partner, is enough to drive anyone batty. Tension increases as an insurrection against the government forces the two to remain trapped indoors. Antar meets an insurgent hiding from a massacre in the streets (Charly, played by Andy Hopper), and conspires to damage Gauloise to pursue this newly found, more exciting paramour.
It is never explicitly stated what country and government are in control, though both Gauloise and Antar are French names (Gauloise is, in fact, a brand of cigarette associated with French nationalism). However, the parallels to recent developments in the US are unavoidable. The intrusive nature of the government in the lives of Antar and Gauloise is represented by Mother-in-Law (Gray Palmer), the cyborg's "handler." War is nearly constant and used as an excuse to "do what is best" for the citizenry, who know very little about the truth of the situation.
As Antar pulls away, Gauloise becomes more irrational and desperate to maintain their relationship. As she becomes more involved with the insurgent movement, she despises Gauloise more and more.
There is nothing overtly wrong with this production. The acting is good, the direction flows smoothly, the writing isn't embarrassing, and the action doesn't drag. The use of Gauloise the cyborg as both the representative of the government and the focus of our empathy is clever and his struggles with Antar's growing detachment show him to be the true victim and pawn. Yet, nothing is said that hasn't already been said in modern fiction. Dystopian futures of all-invasive governments, the values and ethics or our society called into question by our technology have all been well covered by Orwell, Huxley, Dick, Burgess, Vonnegut, etc. A more subtle conceit of consumerism and commercialism is lost in the play's clutter of anti-totalitarian rhetoric.
The play's weakness might be overlooked if its dark humor were played up more and if the characters besides Gauloise were less shallow and incompetent. As it is they almost need the management of Big Brother.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater