A CalArts Festival Theater Production
Dallin is turning 13, and no one comes to his party. His dad’s out of town for work, his best friends are at a cooler kid’s party – even his annoying older sister is away at soccer camp. Left by himself, Dallin takes flight through time, outer space, and his own memories – with help from an unexpected friend. A new, kidfriendly TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) piece by Michael Yichao, Goose is a winner of the Kennedy Center American Colleges Theater Festival, a semifinalist for the O’Neill Theater National Playwriting Conference, and was developed with the Orchard Project.
Delightful, thought-provoking and leaves you feeling deliciously satisfied and happy – Three Weeks (5 stars)
£8 / £6 (concessions)
Venue 13, until 24 Aug (not 5, 12), 10.30am.
tw rating 5/5 | [Sarah Virgo]
- See more at: http://www.threeweeks.co.uk/article/ed2013-theatre-review-goose-calarts-festival-theater/#sthash.rEZ0BENr.dpuf"”
The greatest strength of Yichao’s performance is that he manages to sound exactly like an excitable thirteen year old. He stumbles over some words, but even this seems to fit his character and his passion for science, which he expresses so constantly, is very endearing. Though playful in so many ways Yichao also successfully includes some very touching moments. Alone with his party hat, it is tragic to hear Dallin desperately trying to be happy and the moment in which he is finally honest and yells: ‘This is the worst birthday ever!’ truly sounds like the beginnings of teenage angst. The occasional humour doesn’t work on the audiences and some jokes aren’t entertaining enough to receive even a little laughter, but it is difficult not to care about Dallin nonetheless.
The second half of the play takes a completely different direction and it is so unrealistic that I’m not quite sure if it works. The answer to all of Dallin’s problems appears in the form of a Goose from space, complete with quacking sounds. Flying through space and revisiting a telling hunting trip with his father involving geese there is the possibility that this is all the product of Dallin’s imagination. However, the Goose costume itself is so ridiculous that it makes everything more comical than it does moving. Dancer Sarah Shoemaker is able to pretend to fly whilst perching on Yichao’s back showing the choreography to at least be somewhat effective, but at other points it simply feels too fantastical to relate to.
The end partly fixes things and the play finishes with the audience still adoring a vulnerable Dallin. I can’t help feeling that the idea of a space goose itself needs quite a lot of refining, however, as unique a performance as it is.
Rating: Three stars