Autumn in Andromeda
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nytheatre.com review by Ethan Angelica
August 11, 2013
An alien that looks like a bug captures a human in a play that is set on a spaceship and claims to be about alienation? Sounds like it might be awesome, right? That was my feeling going into Autumn In Andromeda, Jonathan Wallace's newest offering at FringeNYC this year.
As eager and excited as I was about a play that would show the humanity of aliens and the alienation of humans, I walked out a little disappointed. For a show with such a bold mission, Autumn In Andromeda is not yet together enough to pack as much punch as it promises.
Autumn In Andromeda takes places over 500 years in the future on a starship cruising the universe. A lowly data processor, John, has been sent in to speak to an alien, at her request. It seems that John has a "package" that the alien must retrieve, and she's determined to get it at whatever cost. What ensues -- as time slows -- is a thoroughly philosophical discussion on life, purpose and humanity. Yet, I'm sorry to report, it truly is mostly a “discussion.” Very little action occurs over the course of the play, and the static quality made it hard to follow the story, or even the train of thought. The major twist at the end caught me by surprise, but forced my viewing companion and I to spend our post-show drinks sorting out its importance and connection to the story, without ever reaching a conclusion.
The show was not helped by its early stages of production. Both Deborah Carlson and Bennett W. Harrell turn in fine performances, but are hampered by stagnant blocking and a script that seemed hard to remember. Tatiana Gomberg's direction does little to add more thrust to the script, but she is able to create some lovely stage pictures and beautiful, touching moments, especially when the alien transfers memories to John. Ashley Rose Horton's costumes are spectacular, especially the truly incredible alien costume.
All in all, Autumn In Andromeda is a piece I really want to like, but is not quite ready for primetime yet. A play that shifts humanity to an alien and really grounds itself in the ideas and techniques of alienation could be extremely fascinating, and pack a strong and intense point of view. Autumn In Andromeda needs a little more conscious shaping before it reaches its full potential.