Truth. Is it what we see? What
Given the news cycle of the last year or so, these questions may sound like the intro to a long form think-piece on the Black Lives Matter movement, or the #MeToo reckoning or the Trump “fake news” political strategy. Each of these an urgently pressing and more than worthy conversation.
But what if we told you
Caught, the Obie Award-winning play from San Francisco playwright Christopher Chen, serves up
It’s also the kind of show that works best, the less you know about it going in. To put it bluntly, Chen is screwing with our minds in this show to make his point. There are twists and turns and reveals and while at the end of the 90-minute show we really aren’t 100 percent sure what to believe, it hits its purpose hard. Truth is slippery, get on board.
With that in mind, here’s at least a little plot to help bring the show to life on paper and whet your whistle.
In wonderful meta-methodology, Caught, a play ostensibly about art and
As we take our folding seat in the gallery,
His tale is fascinating. The work he describes is fascinating. Bo himself is assured and charismatic. But is it true? Any of it? Is it all a lie? What about the four connected scenes that follow? The New Yorker reporter (Arianna Bermudez) and editor (Colin Brock) that grill Bo on the truthfulness of the story about him that they’ve published. The curator (Bermudez again) and a guest artist (a show-stopping Hannah Lee) engaged in a hilarious mind bender tangle of
Are any of these scenarios what they seem?
Chen’s ability to both confound us with every scene, drawing us in then punishing us for our gullibility, stings like
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But even with Chen’s clever tricks, without astute timing, Caught could easily fall into farcical territory. But not on Director Stephen Miranda’s watch. Just take a look at the final scene, one that calls for pauses and silence and discomfort to make it pop. Miranda isn’t afraid to let things be, to allow his characters room to think and process, knowing the anxiety it causes us. Too bad he says, tough it out. It’s ballsy direction and it serves Chen’s ideas gloriously.
Equally as ballsy is Landing Theatre itself, which prides itself on inclusionary and diverse American programming that means, “American the way it actually looks … stories interwoven by diverse cultures that collectively create our national identity”. There are a lot of companies in Houston that claim to reflect the true breadth of our culture. Most do it poorly or not at all. Landing is one of the few that actively and effectively gives different voices a platform on its stage. Not simply in casting, but in whose stories are being told.
Marry that with choosing work as invigorating as Chen’s and backing it up with a talented cast of diverse performers, and it’s easy to think or at least hope, that Landing and its model are the future of theater in this city.
Caught continues through June 30 at Clarke & Associates Gallery, 301 East 11th. For information, visit landingtheatre.org or call 562-502-7469. $12 - $100.