The aspiring opera singer named Nina has energy to save. Watch as she puts together one of the necklaces she'll swap for donations in an online charity scam: while she's stringing beads sitting on the floor, she smiles at the fictitious beneficiary of the scam. It's a bright, friendly smile, even when you see impatience simmering around the edges.
Thais Menendez's humorous, nuanced and principled portrayal of Nina is one of the strengths of "Things That Are Round," a world-record comedy featuring two actors on the Rep Stage. Unfortunately, their performance is virtually the only strength of the show. "Things That Are Round" is a work by Callie Kimball. It is a high-spirited work that is never more than ingenuity. Despite details that point to profundity, the ultra-bizarre narrative and dialogue never provide a satisfying window to deeper meaning, either in character or in existential truth. And Lola B. Pierson's direction only emphasizes the annoying art of the work.
It is Menendez 'merit that she shows such a compelling portrait of Nina, a would-be artist who is confident, disrespectful and narcissistic. After receiving a lucrative babysitter job, Nina uses her new employer, Tetherly (Beth Hylton), an insecure, lonely dentist who writes a PhD on calculus and monads. As the bond between the two women strengthens – through stories, opinions ("Beige carpet means death is near") and Tetherly's Apocalypse Survival checklist, their crazy exchanges turn into loving and hostile ones.
Kimball does not do much more than construct. Behind the comic behaviors of the characters, there does not seem to be sufficient reasons – psychologically, poetically, or philosophically – as with the show-and-tell they do with the extracted teeth of their patients. Hylton does not manage to fill in the outline of this cipher, and the actress is not helped by a few startling blocks, such as a sequence in which she bizarrely circled the periphery of the inconspicuous living room set. (Jenny Male is the Resident Movement and Fight Director, Daniel Ettinger is the stage designer, and Sarah Tundermann's lighting adds an exclamation point to the anti-naturalist aspects of the story.)
Some touches of the game are admittedly spicy – for example, the children's toy that rains from the ceiling in one place, or the allusions to all household items that mysteriously break after the setting of Nina. But too often drowsiness feels compelled.
In another game, the central relationship could be a moving example of how unequal people can help and challenge one another. But because the premise of the story, and especially the character of Tetherly, never seems real – even within the parameters of the game's intentionally eccentric universe – we never reach that kind of profit. "Things that are round" is overflowing with things that are reserved and understated with revelation.
Things that are round, by Callie Kimball. Director: Lola B. Pierson; Costume Picture, Heather C. Jackson; Composition and sound design, Sarah O & # 39; Halloran; Properties, Amy Kellett. 90 minutes. Tickets: $ 10- $ 40. See you at the Howard Community College's Horowitz Visual Arts and Performing Arts Center on November 18, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. repstage.org.