Assessment: 4 Characters in Search of a Huge Second in ‘A Day’
Time flies while you’re having no enjoyable.
Take the 4 principal characters within the English language premiere of Gabrielle Chapdelaine’s “A Day,” produced by the Cherry Artists’ Collective in Ithaca, N.Y. Through the 24 hours lined within the play’s 90 minutes — every hour set off like a chapter — they work resentfully, sleep fitfully and, in between, stay morosely.
Nico (Sylvie Yntema) fantasizes about associates who don’t actually exist. (She does, nonetheless, set a dinner place for the cellphone she’s stolen from a colleague’s desk.) Harris (Karl Gregory) events with out pleasure, texts endlessly from the bathroom and tells his mom he’s not doing properly. Not less than his mom solutions; Alfonso (Jahmar Ortiz) visits his childhood dwelling understanding that his dad and mom moved out of it ages in the past — and he’s the optimist on this bunch. Debs (Erica Steinhagen) makes use of up her inventory of bravery simply getting dressed; she is “intentionally unhappy,” as a stage route notes.
The performances of the 4 actors, livestreamed from separate green-screen cubicles on the stage of the State Theater in Ithaca, are blended in actual time with recorded video that includes different members of the collective enjoying co-workers, associates, baristas and the like. The know-how is slick; there’s one director (Wendy Dann) for the very interesting actors and one for the “mise en stream” (Samuel Buggeln). Collectively they make the day transfer swiftly, even in case you are relieved to search out that the hours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. have been dropped as a result of it’s nap time.
However the lack of precise interplay and the unrelieved ticktock construction ultimately develop monotonous. It doesn’t assist that as an illustration of lives lived totally on telephones and relationships carried out totally on social media, the drama occurs largely within the characters’ fingertips. Usually once they do converse, it’s not even for themselves. The others converse for them, in a language you would possibly name Smug Snark, as when Nico tells Antonio “you congratulate your self on the impulse to do deed” — as a substitute of really doing it.
I’m afraid that’s additionally the issue with “A Day,” which continues by way of Saturday; the motion is muffled by the flowery (and admittedly transfixing) floor. Watching feels a bit like courting a headache by studying a spreadsheet with the hours of the day alongside one axis and the characters’ names alongside the opposite. Every, in fact, will get aptly coloured and patterned wallpaper: Upbeat, athletic Alfonso’s is orange, with dumbbells. Not till one of many 4 threatens to take a look at of the day completely — as a touch, her wallpaper is blue, with tablets — do the stakes develop excessive sufficient to disturb the play’s placid group.
Even then, it feels small, maybe as a result of nothing in “A Day” resembles certainly one of ours; it had its French-language premiere, as “Une Journée,” in Montreal two years in the past, properly earlier than Covid-19. (The interpretation is by Taylor Gaines.) One thing about dwelling in a pandemic makes you need to watch greater individuals dealing with greater issues than generic unhappiness, deliberate or not. Once I later realized, from an creator’s notice within the script, that the 4 characters may be features of 1 individual, all I may assume was: I wouldn’t need to spend a minute with him.
By way of Nov. 21; thecherry.org.
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