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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 20 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 38
Click bait - Soft Click of a Switch exposes uncomfortable truths about 'ordinary' people
Arts & Entertainment
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Click bait - Soft Click of a Switch exposes uncomfortable truths about 'ordinary' people

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

SOFT CLICK OF A SWITCH
MAP THEATRE
(at West of Lenin)
Through September 28


Peggy Gannon and Brandon Ryan, in their initial creation known as Man Alone Productions, now condensed as MAP Theatre, have a particular theatrical point of view that is darkly comic and probes parts of the human psyche that we often don't want to know about. They pick scripts they love about flawed and troubled beings and mount them when it becomes possible.

Soft Click of a Switch by Carter W. Lewis is about two men who have almost lost hope that life will provide anything meaningful for them. When they find each other in a bar, one of the 'soft clicks' in the play happens, and they click with each other. Apart, as director Gannon says, they are 'inert,' but together they literally become explosive.

Ed (Brandon Ryan) is a borderline psychopath with an unclear method of supporting himself. He has all kinds of inappropriate emotional connections to people who have no connection to him. He 'takes care' of the couple next door 'in his heart' by peering through a crack in the wall, watching their most intimate moments. He longs to make a mark on the world, mostly dreaming of killing someone.

Earl (Mark Fullerton) is an older man, estranged from his wife, who makes a living in order to drink, he explains. He has pretty much given up any dreams of being anything other than a drunk.

EVERYDAY TERRORISTS
As Ryan and Fullerton play these characters, their trajectory toward crossing the line between thinking and doing is never forced. Each step seems reasonable and progressive for two people who literally have nothing better to do. Earl's reticence to help Ed blow something up (they decide to blow up local photo booths) is overcome by his desire to give something to Ed, be needed by Ed.

While the ending of the play seems more impractical than the rest of the script, the bulk of the short (75-minute) show is a glimpse into ordinary people who, without anyone's help to channel their restless energies toward helping the world, seek to make a noise loud enough to matter somehow.

With a spare, somewhat (appropriately) ugly, set by Suzi Tucker, the focal point being the wall with the crack in it, and an evocative sound design by Shane Regan of muffled bar music and other people talking, director Peggy Gannon keeps a deliberate pace that builds the incendiary actions.

This is a powerfully performed exploration of the inside of a relationship. It is an opportunity to probe people we might never want meet from the safety of our theater seats. For more information, go to www.map-theatre.com or www.westoflenin.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/427268, or call 1-800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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