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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 6 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 27
Their Crisis - and yours?
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Their Crisis - and yours?

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS YOUR CRISIS
INFINITY BOX THEATRE PROJECT (at Ethnic Cultural Theatre)
Through July 8


A 14-member cast is needed to produce this new, 45-minute adaptation by Catherine Kettrick of a 1976 short story by Kate Wilhelm, Ladies and Gentlemen, This is Your Crisis. Fortunately, only two of those cast members are on stage: Geni Hawkins and David Alan Morrison. The rest are voices from a constantly streaming television broadcast that the two actors watch obsessively over the course of a weekend.

Lottie and Butcher are TV junkies who spend every weekend glued to a reality show called This Is Your Crisis. Televised in real time, the show involves four crazy people vying to win $5,000,000 (the contestants really are crazy, because you have to be diagnosed with some extreme mental condition to be eligible). The show's premise, essentially, is that by having their very survival challenged, these people can regain their ability to manage everyday life.

Hawkins and Morrison are also called upon to get so angry at one another that they commit physical violence. They clearly care for each other, but the implication is that the enormous time-suck of TV-watching creates severe dysfunction in their relationship. There's also a sneaky suggestion that they both are so enamored with the show that they each want to commit some crazy crime that would qualify them to be contestants.

Infinity Box Theatre Project is a new company that focuses on the nexus of science, technology, and humans. Toward this end, they host discussions after each performance. Kettrick, artistic director and adaptor/director of the play, said she read the story over 30 years ago and knew then that she wanted to bring it to the stage. It just took a long time to realize her dream.

Wilhelm graced the theater with her presence on opening night. She said her prescient story came from anger with game shows and their manipulative presence in our lives, and how television hooks us. It's clear that things have only gotten worse since then, and audience members commented on how we now have the option to indulge our TV habit everywhere we go, with iPads and smartphones. There are also ever-more invasive ways for producers to hook us into viewing, such as audience polls and social media interaction.

The play is very static, in the sense that just about all one does is watch two people watching television, but there is a lot to think about while you do. One audience member commented that she wasn't watching the actors watch TV - she was watching herself watch.

For more information, go to www.infinitybox.org or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/235236, or call 800-838-3006. Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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