Review: "pen/man/ship" Delivers a Great Voyage for the Audience, If Not the Characters
Written by Christina Anderson
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien
Presented by Molière in the Park and French Institute Alliance Française
December 12, 2020 (live) and December 12-January 4, 2020 (recorded) via YouTube
UPDATE [27 March 2021]: 7 live performances added April 16-24, 2021
|Jared McNeill. Photo courtesy DARR Publicity.|
|Postell Pringle. Photo courtesy DARR Publicity.|
|Set design by Lina Younes. Image courtesy DARR Publicity.|
Thoughtful, ardent performances by all involved movingly manifest what these humanly flawed characters discover about themselves and their individual resolve as each comes under increasing strain—and all in language redolent with period diction. The production, subtitled in French, also uses real-time mixing of audio and video feeds, courtesy of Liminal Entertainment Technologies, to help create smooth cuts and transitions and a convincing sense of shared space (and, at times, of claustrophobia), as well as to add effects such as a drawing that Jacob is working on as a transparent overlay or being able to watch Jacob talk to Ruby reflected in a mirror in her cabin. Following the performance was an informative Q&A with the cast and crew, touching on topics ranging from working with contemporary material now and in the future; set, shot, sound, and costume design; where the tech for decentralized productions such as this is headed; the animation process and inspirations; and the approach to translation for subtitling.
pen/man/ship provides a richly memorable two-hour tour, so get on board before it sails over the horizon for good.