Mar 12-Mar 28, 2021
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Hello and welcome to this
public relations write up... are you on your phone right now? Can you
please listen to me for a few minutes? Without multi tasking? Thanks.
Okay! Welcome to this public relations write up! I'm here to tell you
about this wonderful new play... what's that? You say theatre is dead?
Well, well, it's just an intermission shall we say? That's what we say in
the desperate contemporary theatrical landscape.
Okay but seriously, there's this play called Mr. Rogers: American
Terminator by playwright William Missouri Downs. Is this playwright a
neurotic, alcoholic man, afraid of reality, who slaves away on plays in
the dark corners of your local Starbucks? I don't know but there's a
pretty good chance.
The play is a riot, it revolves around Martha and George Drake,
multitasking, high functioning alcoholic couple who've just returned from
a play by neurotic playwright who's afraid of reality, Brooklyn Gray.
They hated it. All the actors did was talk, there was even a part where
one actor talked for a full three uninterrupted minutes. The couple posts
a viral YouTube video drunkenly defaming the play.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn is on a date with Jojo Porchnik. If you can call
going home to a musical theatre major's barren apartment to drink generic
wine and miscommunicate, a date. Jojo finds the couple's viral 'review'
of Brooklyn's play on the internet, much to his dismay. From there, all
their worlds collide and things get messy.
Downs' play will leave you in stitches. It's witty and rollicking with a
healthy dose of reality. It's a sophisticated, comedic depiction of
contemporary life that cries out for much needed communication and
empathy. Mr. Rogers: American Terminator is the gut laugh and the gut
punch desperately needed in the American Theatre. This is the play of the
season you don't want to miss.
Mr. Rogers: American Terminator is directed by Artistic Director Ceil
Herman and stars Debbie-Jo Felix, Autumn Gieb, Ed Montes, Nancy Clein
Tafoya, Genno Tafoya, Rachel Thomas-Chappell, and Monte H. Wright. The
play will stream from Friday, March 12, continuously through Sunday, March 28. The
performance is is Free. To receive the link, e-mail email@example.com
No credits have been posted.
'Mr. Rogers: American Terminator' skewers today's society
- Cheryl Thornburg , Theatre Patron and former newspaper Arts Editor
No Strings Theatre Company has a reputation for bringing edgy, new plays to the stage and now, due to the Covid situation, into fans' homes via streaming. Their latest venture does not disappoint.
The current production, "Mr. Rogers: American Terminator" brings Comedy of Manners theater into the 21st century with its biting contemporary satire.
Like Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" a century ago, playwright William Missouri Downs' play takes aim at today's society and its obsession with social media, cell phones and multi-tasking.
You will probably recognize your friends, family and yourself in this over-the-top, but dead-on cast of characters.
The plot involves Martha and George Drake, described as high-functioning alcoholics, who attend a play that they did not like, and, in an inebriated state, post a nasty review on YouTube, which goes viral.
At the same time, the mature playwright is on a date with a college student who is addicted to social media and attached to her cellphone. The generation gap leads to delightfully disconnected dialogue.
Both couples are continually interrupted by texts, etc., which will seem familiar to anyone who is not a hermit.
The results of the viral online review are disastrous - and hilarious - when all four get together.
The play also pokes fun at theater itself and incorporates devices like a play-within-a-play to add to the hilarity.
I laughed until my jaws hurt. Luckily, since I was streaming it in my living room, I could laugh as loud and long as I wanted without disturbing other audience members.
Director Ceil Herman selected the perfect cast for this show. Comedy is not easy and these actors nailed it.
Monte H. Wright delivers a superb performance as an unorthodox Mr. Rogers, narrating the show. I dare you to not laugh while he's on screen.
Nancy Clein-Tafoya and Genno Tafoya as Martha and George Drake, have a natural comedic chemistry, which may be enhanced since they are a real-life couple. Their inattentive, disconnected conversations may actually play out in some of today's households.
Edward Montes plays the sophisticated, but out-of-touch Brooklyn Gray with aplomb. His playwright/professor is the perfect foil to Rachel Thomas-Chappell's JoJo, the out-going, "connected," college student. Thomas-Chappell is delightful as the multi-tasking musical theater major. Again, I dare you not to laugh.
Debbie Jo Felix is outrageous as a disruptive audience member who comes up on stage to charge her cell phone. How she keeps a straight face, I don't know
- but then, she is wearing a mask so I might not have noticed. She also demonstrates amazing verbal agility as later, she announces a Terms of Service Agreement in German.
We really don't see much of Autumn Gieb, but she adds a lot of great humor to the show as she voices the responses of Siri and Alexa numerous times. She also delivers a classic show-stopping performance parody of "Memories" from "Cats" in the finale.
I'd like to thank the playwright, William Missouri Downs, for making me laugh more times than I have in the entire last year. I have watched it three times and will probably watch it again.
The play is not suitable for children due to some of the dialog and subject matter, but most adults should find it funny.
Streaming is relatively new to me, but it's brought theater back into my life. If you've never tried it, it's worth the slight learning curve.
"Mr. Rogers: American Terminator" by William Missouri Downs, streams March 12-28 and it's free! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will send you the link.
No seating plan has been posted.