A MOMENT OF INSANITY ‘THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH INCIDENT’ IS FAULTLINE THEATRE ONCE AGAIN AT ITS BEST. JOIN THIS WITTY CABIN MUTINY AND BALLET OF WHO WILL SURVIVE THIS EXPERIMENT
FaultLine Theater’s latest world premiere, The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident by Barry Eitel and directed by James Nelson. Now on stage at the PIANO FIGHT Stage in San Francisco through Aug 27th. It is a delightfully modern piece of theatre with shocking twist, sexy intrigue, and an unfinished feel. Ice Cream Sandwich is another new and ambitious play from FaultLine, who has recently brought us Oreo Carrot Danger and Stegosaurus, similarly modern adventures into the vibrant young theatre. Nelson's brilliant direction with a smart cast finds a fun creative take on a reality show type novella. Millennials stuck in a lab science space experiment, similar to BIG BROTHER . It could remind you of a lost Twilight Zone story or a classic duel of emotions.
Ice Cream Sandwich runs two hours and is a fast-paced comedy with a few moments of real emotional depth. The show begins with an interview that slowly reveals the premise: four fake astronauts are spending a year together in fake space as an experiment to monitor how real astronauts will behave being stuck together for long periods of time. Their domestic bliss has been upended by an incident involving Captain Tugg’s (Paul Rodrigues) consumption of all the ice cream sandwiches. The resulting drama destroys their charade of professional cooperation and tranquility and starts to reveal their backstories and ulterior motives. The play struggles a little to keep the plot moving forward, as old subplots resolve and new ones arise the transition is not always smooth.
The cast, however, is strong enough to carry the play all the way to its shocking conclusion. The capable and charismatic Paul Rodrigues as the insecure and immature captain clashes satisfyingly with Nora Doane as Amy, the neurotic wanna-be astronaut with a desperate desire to please. Without giving too much away, their fight resolves in a Space Ballet that is taken so seriously by the actors that it can’t help but be hilarious to the audience. Doane is particularly delightful during a moment of heightened mania at the beginning of the second act as she plays TV host/relationship counselor in a stylistic twist that was deftly pulled off by director James Nelson.
Daniel Chung plays Ripp with more nuance than can be found in the script. His character is written uncomfortably close to the “socially-awkward robo-Asian” stereotype, but Chung has the depth and brilliant comedic timing to flesh out the character. Adrian Deane capably rounds out the crew as Jones, in many ways the straight man of the crew until her dysfunctional behavior is revealed. Much of the exposition is given via interviews between the crew and May, play by Becky Hirschfield with precision and strength. Hirschfield makes fake space seem very real and summons the spectrum of the petty bureaucrat we’ve all been tormented by at some point.
One of the strengths of Ice Cream Sandwich is the way it plays with style, starting off with a simple comedy and then adding a Space Ballet, a talk show, a reality tv-style Emotion Chamber, and a very sexy interlude that also serves as the comedic high point of the production. Nelson does a great job of making all the disparate elements feel like the same show, but the play tries to hit the profundity button a little too hard in its last moments.
As usual at FaultLine, the set design is adventurous and well-executed. In this instance FaultLine crowdsourced the money to build a multi-level simulated space station complete with hatches, buttons, and flashing lights, designed by the talented Carlos Aceves. The set clearly makes us part of this fake space experiment as we get that confined feel as if we are craving those Ice creams as the crew whine about. Maxx Kurzunski’s lighting design is also a high point, with interesting transitions and a few surprising effects. Noah Kramer props design included some high end fake space items and cables and wires that covered the detailed set.
Wes Crain’s costumes add to the fake-realism, especially the space suit that plays a pivotal role in the show’s climax. The sound design and music by James Goode is stunning and captures that star-trek feel we get from the small black box performance space. The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident runs through August 27, 2016, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 6 pm Performances at Piano Fights at 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco. It is important to see a new work and FaultLine along with the south bay's Theatre Works continue to bring excellent new theatre the Bay Area. No need to bring any ice cream, but grab a drink at the bar and join this crew in this moment of insanity on a simulated spaceship to nowhere.
FaultLine Theatre Presents
THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH INCIDENT
Written by Barry Eitel, Directed by James Nelson
Through August 27th
144 Taylor Street San Francisco, Ca
Running time two hours with intermission
Tickets at faultlinetheatre.com
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/faultlineInc/?fref=ts
Photos by Clive Walker
ABOUT FAULTLINE THEATER : FaultLine empowers emerging artists to create vibrant new works. We turn fresh scripts and bold ideas into fullyrealized, polished productions. We open our doors to the young and the skeptical to build a welcoming artistic community and cultivate a demand for the art of live performance
Barry Eitel (playwright), James Nelson (director), Jordan Okano (production stage manager), Austin Owen(dramaturg), Daniel Chung (Ripp), Adrian Deane (Jones), Nora Doane (Amy), Becky Hirschfeld (May), Paul Rodrigues (Tugg), Noah Kramer (props design), James Goode (sound design), Maxx Kurzunski (lighting design), Wes Crain (costume design), Carlos Aceves (scenic designer)