Welcome witches and warlocks,
I am going to do my best today to convey the truth with as little embellishment as possible.
To begin with, the other night I had the pleasure of attending the new immersive theater experience CAUGHT at the Think Tank Gallery. The setting was perfect for this production as we are in an actual gallery to see a show that revolves around art. This air of authenticity is further captured by the fact that while the guests look at the art, grab a bite to eat, or partake of the proffered libations, the artist of the hour himself makes his way between the groups to interact with the attendees. During his glad handing, he mentions that he plans on reading to us from his new biography about his time in prison; and with that the stage is set.
To convey too much more of what follows would almost be a disservice to the production as it relies a fair amount upon the audience to discover its secrets for itself. What I can say, without tipping my hand too much, is that we get so much more than just a simple book reading. In fact, over the course of the two acts we are pulled through scenes examining social justice, art, truth, cultural appropriation, and the power of illusions. While things start simply enough, the escalation of the events manages to cram in more and more philosophy that often subverts the scenes that came before.
The structure itself is of great note as each act is broken into two interconnected, but wholly different segments. By breaking the action of each act over two scenes we are allowed a chance to fully take in the first, more serious aspects before moving into the often lighter nature of the second movement. What was impressive is that whether it be a heady debate of ideologies or a discussion of relationships over a meal from McDonald’s, there is never a moment where the philosophies got lost in the midst of the humor.
From a content standpoint I appreciated much of the writing as it balanced off the head spinning, cerebral moments with plenty of easily accessible dialogue. If I had to level one slight critique, I would say that there is a particular scene in the second act that breaks the realism a bit too early with dialogue that felt clunky. Apart from this, the rest of the work left me laughing or thinking in equal measures, while never offering up an easy or definitive answer to the questions posed.
Given the changing nature of the structure, content, and tone, it was refreshing to see the cast execute each aspect with confidence. Each act offered the four cast members a chance to transform themselves completely at least once, leading to dynamic, shifting performances that were just as ever changing as the script. While one could comment about great length upon their recital of the heavier moments, I was more impressed by their pitch perfect comic timing as they were able to turn from dramatic to comedic within the space of seconds.
All in all, this is an impressively tight piece that uses and subverts realism in equal measure. The structure of the play promises a little something for most theater goers as philosophy can turn to comedy at a moment’s notice. The strong cast is able to handle these switches with aplomb and manage to keep this production zipping along to its conclusion. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in the arts or just likes a good night of entertainment.
-The Creeping Craig