Written by Andrea Kuchlewska
Review by Rose Desena
This Week in Theater
“Are you complete today?” the strong authoritative voice on the stage (Scott Victor Nelson) shouts out to his shell shocked but eager audience.
Complete! Hmm, well complete is not the word I would think of when describing my personal goals for the day. That’s a term I say when my reviews are done and off to my editor, finished, done and I usually add yippee.
But then again I am not sitting in an est training session listening to one of Werner Erhard’s disciples. Words, when said in a different context, have a different meaning so from what I gathered in est complete means you have accomplished your personal task. For some of you who were just a gleam in your father’s eyes in the late 70’s, I suggest you do a little reading or check out the word est on the internet.
Personally, as a transplanted New Yorker, I can only describe the whole thing as BS, but for some it proved to be a big step in the right direction of sanity. Sanity might be the wrong word. Est gave one permission, support and emotional strength to kiss off their over bearing mothers, tell their may be too touchy-feely uncle to stop and say what is it you want, even if it makes you look like an idiot or tormented the person you’re speaking too.
Meredith Bishop (Eve) plays a neurotic, obsessed woman, who has escaped her damaged childhood, and a life with an est groupie mother. She finds an identity as a linguist, constantly seeking the correct use of words or phrases. A colleague Micah (Scott Kruse) has a little obsession going on with his relationship with Eve. He is also doing the est training, lucky guy. Eve tells her story with the help of a younger Eve (Tess Oswalt), who moves through the story as her younger self.
The writer Andrea Kuchlewska, should be acknowledged for doing something different and creative. She reached far into her writing soul. The talented cast along with exceptional directing make “Complete” worth seeing particularly if you are familiar with Erhard and his teaching or should I say his preaching’s.
As much as I admired the playwright and acting, I struggled a bit with the play. It was heavy and the constant references to the perfect rules of grammar from this obnoxious smug character (no fault of Bishop that was who she was supposed to be) wore on me. The play is billed as a comedy but I failed to see a lot of humor, maybe because I got lost in the overly detailed explanations of grammar to hear the funny lines. When the play came to an end I was a little exhausted from it all but maybe that’s what Kuchelewska’s was going for in keeping with the style of an est training session. From her note in the program, I can only assume she has had experience with the teachings of “est” or something similar.
For those of you who might be seeking some enlightenment, I understand est is alive and well but now called The Program, another play on words, when I think of program I think of “Footlights. “
Written by Andrea Kuchlewska
Director: Jennifer Chambers
Cast: Tess Oswalt, Scott Victor Nelson, Scott Kruse, Meredith Bishop
Matrix Theater 7657 Melrose, Los Angeles Ca. 90046
www.Plays 411.com – Runs until March 30th