Billed as a comedy, the play Complete written by Andrea Kuchlewska and directed by Jennifer Chambers, and performed at the Matrix Theatre, and presented by Wilder Theatrics, it tells the story of two linguists who explore the power of language at an "est" like training seminar.
Aptly splitting time between the present moment, the past weekend where the hero Micah (Scott Kruse) attends the est seminar, and the distance past where as a young girl Evie (Tess Oswalt) and her older persona, Eva (Meredith Bishop) both attend the est seminars, it brings together the two adults as they are about to present a paper at a linguistic conference. Micah desperately wants to tell Eve that he loves her, but can't seem to get that out. He is ably assisted by the est leader Jack (Scott Victor Nelson.) When Eve finds out what Micah has done, she risks their careers and their relationship as she tries to show him how destructive self creation can be.
For those who are unfamiliar with the est concepts, once popular in the 70-80's , developed by Werned Erhard, and accused by some of being a cult, it's about how we create our own realities, transform our pasts and supposedly break free from what holds us back by using the power of intention. It's about allowing our vulnerability, stepping outside ourselves and acknowledging what doesn't work for us. At some point, however, these self transformations become self doubt.
Despite it being listed as a comedy, there were very few comedic moments in the 90 minutes. In fact, I heard no laughter at all in the theatre. My companion and I quickly got lost in all the linguistic arguments of the words create and transform and in fact, several times, had to be nudged awake, while I knew what time it was at every moment, because I kept looking at my watch to see when it would end.
The acting was fair and probably would have been better if the play had been better.
The show was produced by Raquel Lehrman, set designed by Joel Daavid, lighting by Michael Gend, costume by Sharell Martin, and sound by John Zalewski.
In the end, Micah never accomplishes his purpose or intention and really had no character arc. You are left wondering what really happened and what was the point of the play. I found Complete a complete waste of time and had I not, myself, gone through the est training, would probably not have understood it, at all.
The play performs Thursday-Saturdays at 8 pm with the show on Sunday at 7 pm.
Tickets, which cost $25, can be had by calling 323 960-7822 or www.plays411.com/complete.