Review: “Middletown” offers personality and relatable humor

Lenisha Harry/ Clarion

“Middletown” offered nothing but confusion in the Little Theatre on Nov. 3.

The play started as the public speaker, Summer Scranton, began with a long speech that was funny, but hard follow. Her hyper personality was getting laughs from the audience; however, by the end of her speech, what she was saying was hard to remember and kept going around in circles.

The monologue may have provided humor but at the cost of causing great confusion, which would later reflect on the rest of the play.

“Middletown” is a dramatic comedy about a small town, literally in the middle of nowhere, with everyday people and their dull lives written by playwright Will Eno.

The main drama was between, long-time resident of Middletown, John Dodge, played by Miguel Tapia, and, new resident, Mary Swanson, played by Madison Stirrett, in which the two characters are connected by the bond of their loneliness.

Another main role was held by the Mechanic, played by Nathan Cabrera, in which he goes through life looking to be loved; as a result of not finding love, he undergoes drug and drinking addictions.

Throughout the play, there are a few scenes that seem to offer nothing to the story such as the outer space scene in which the astronaut, Utsav Astavakra, was giving a long rant about how the earth was so beautiful which brought more confusion to the audience.

It was common that a character would go off and give a rant that goes on too long and loses the audience half way through.

For example, during the second police officer scene, the cop played by Kenny Howard was talking to the audience multiple times about what he was thinking which turned into another long rant.

Howard’s long speech went into asking why people do the things that they do. He did not simply ask this question, but he kept repeating the question which seemed redundant and confused the audience. This provided nothing for the play.

Though the script was not the strongest, the humor in the play provided the audience with comedic relief.

Cabrera’s character provided the most humor with his strange personality and peculiar walk. In one scene towards the end of the play, Cabrera was trying to get painkillers from a doctor. To get the painkillers, Cabrera had to dive on the ground from the painkillers. He took a bite from the painkiller and the audience could hear the crunch against his teeth. Cabrera’s reaction had the audience dying with laughter.

Cabrera concludes his performance with an impressive dance scene on top of a stool, clearly giving it his all. Other great performances were by Tapia and Stirrett as their connection seemed very believable.

It was clear that Stirrett has experience in acting as she gave an solid performance.
Tapia’s portrayed his character well with his shy and awkward personalities of the character John. The audience laughed when he turned shy near Stirret’s character Swanson, clearly showing his fondness for her.

Right before intermission, a group in the audience started talking about the play. It took some time for the audience to realize that they were actually actors performing a scene. There was chatter heard in the audience with questions of what was happening, adding to more confusion.

With people having questions, it was unnoticable that the group were actors because they were acting as if they were audience members. They continued by summarizing what was happening and even giving their predictions for what was to come.

Eventually it became clear because the group was talking loud enough for everyone to hear, and when they finished, the light went out and the group left.
Overall, “Middletown” was a solid show that provided such good humor and acting.

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