The Millennium Monologues
The Sacramento Theatre Company commissioned four monologues for this show—three by associated playwrights Velina Hasu Houston (Kokoro), Aviva Jane Carlin (Jodie’s Body) and Bob Devin Jones (Uncle Bends), and one by Davis writer Robert Daseler. They were asked independently to write futuristic one acts based respectively on race, politics, gender and science. The result, as you’d expect, is a grab bag. But it makes for an evening that turns up several interesting surprises.
The most pleasant is Daseler’s near-future script, a poolside essay in which a perky college student chats about everything from black holes to cybersex to the way rose petals move on the surface of the water. It’s marvelous writing, and actress Bari Newport brings her saucy character to vivid life.
Carlin’s script (co-written with E. Eden) is a bit of far-future sarcasm: a syrupy infomercial for a terra-formed community on a hitherto undiscovered moon of Jupiter. The humor’s brittle and pointed, but the concept’s borrowed science fiction, and the playwrights play a cheap trick at the end. Still, it’s engaging and funny until the final scene, and actress Tara Blau has a field day peddling her wares.
Jones lays out a strange tale of a transgender individual with an enhanced brain. There are moments of beautifully dark humor. But this story of odd things happening to an odd person is perhaps an oddness too much.
Houston’s tale of an auto wreck involving the travail of a multiracial woman is futuristic only in a superficial sense. One gets the sense that Houston is getting things off her chest.
There are also two likable, smart-aleck songs written by local composer Gregg Coffin. Director Sheldon Deckelbaum (on loan from UC Davis) conjures up some glowing visual images.