Saturday, December 3, 2011

Airing Out Family Secrets: Nathan's Secret Girlfriend

It’s been a year since Nathan’s last been to his family home in Colorado, and this Christmas Eve he decides it’s time to finally bring his girlfriend to meet his family. But the family isn’t ready for Nathan’s choice, especially as his father and sisters are still reeling from the loss of his mother the year before. 

That’s the basic plot of Nathan’s Secret Girlfriend: A Christmas Play, a play by Brendon Votipka currently running at Mason Gross. Unlike when I saw Machinal at the same theater, I went into this performance blind, knowing nothing about it beyond the tiny blurb provided on the flyer I received in the mail about the upcoming season. That being said, I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s delight by revealing too many details, so I’ll just give a few impressions below.

One of my first thoughts on arriving at the theater was enjoying that Christmas music was playing even before the show started, priming the audience for what was to come. I also delighted in examining the stage set before me and appreciating the detail-oriented person(s) who took this job seriously.

When the play started, it was clear very early on that the four actors on the stage were all excellent at their craft. The bizarre storyline was ultimately touching, cueing viewers in to the strengths (as well as issues) of family togetherness. There’s also deeper themes addressed, such as the value of human relationships (that cannot be reproduced via technology), fitting into societal norms, the illusion of achieving perfection, and coping with loneliness. All this is mixed in with a fair dose of dark comedy, so that I was not the only one laughing out loud at parts. 

Nathan’s Secret Girlfriend: A Christmas Play will run for another week, so get in now for your dose of holiday drama and comedy! (And there’s a more than good chance your family’s holiday gatherings will seem tame in comparison…)

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