Recall is one of those plays that telegraphs everything it’s about to do, and then it does it. The only element that’s at all intriguing is the title.
The word itself usually connotes a memory that has returned to a person’s consciousness. Or what you do on the telephone after you’ve gotten a busy signal. In the case of playwright Eliza Clark’s confusing off-Broadway import, however, it refers to what the manufacturer does with cars that are defective. Only in this case it isn’t cars that are defective. It’s people.
But we don’t know who is monitoring them or recalling them. Or why. Certainly Lucy (Madeline Bertani), a violent, vituperative teen-age psychopath would seem to be a good candidate for recall. But she isn’t even on “the list.” Her boyfriend Quinn (Kevin Grossman) is, however, although he exhibits nothing more serious than a sense of alienation and “otherness.”
Lucy’s mother, Justine (Karen Nicole), is a ditzy actress who can’t get her love life in order. She drifts from one man to another as easily as she moves from one sleazy dwelling place to the next. As the play opens she and Lucy are preparing to flee from yet another motel room, and while Justine is getting their things together, Lucy is on her knees trying to scrub a humongous bloodstain out of the rug.
The two are befriended by a mysterious stranger, David (Mark Souza), who offers them shelter in a safe house that he runs, and he goes on living with them there. The play hints that he has some kind of official assignment—is it to “monitor” the two women? But meanwhile, he has dreams that leave him writhing and screaming in the night.
Oh, and did I mention that Justine has witchy talents that she uses to wipe away a person’s memories (so that they can’t “recall” them)? I apologize for revealing so much of the plot, but I’ve only dealt with some of the questions that the plot introduces. I haven’t revealed any of the answers because, unfortunately, there are none. Described as a “science fiction thriller,” it is neither science fiction nor thrilling. Set in some kind of weird near-future, it isn’t a nice place to visit, and you certainly wouldn’t want to live there.
Recall, presented by The Visceral Company, is directed by Dan Sturgeon at the Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood. It runs for 85 minutes, without an intermission, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 through May 4th. For tickets, go to www.thevisceralcompany.com.
Photo: Madeline Bertani and Karen Nicole
Photo by: Amelia Gotham