Saturday, April 9, 2016

University of New Mexico’s Chatterbox Review



Chatterbox is part of The University of New Mexico’s Linnell Festival of New Plays. The play was written by Rebecca Sanchez and directed by Morgan Green.Rebecca Sanchez is currently in the Dramatic Writing MFA program at UNM. Morgan Green is a guest director from Brooklyn.

Chatterbox takes place in modern day Albuquerque New Mexico and features Valentina, a free spirited kindergarten teacher, and Marco, a literature analyst and college professor, and their relationship with one another. Sanchez does a good job addressing social issues and cultural situations in a light-hearted and also heart breaking way. The story is told through short vignette, each showing the different dynamics of their relationship. How their relationship works, how it doesn’t work, and how they make it work.             

The scenic design by Zoe Bell and the costume design by Emilie Norris works well with the abstract form of storytelling. The blocking for the actors on the other hand didn’t work as well. For most of the play there was at least one actor that had his or her back to the audience. This seem less like an artistic choice and more like poor planning on the director's side. Green also adds a mix of realism and symbolism that didn’t seem to work in her favor. For instance, the actors are often seen eating real pastries and drinking real coffee, but when Valentina is the post to be baking cookies she spreads glitter all over herself instead. The journey from the real world into an abstract world then back again can get a little confusing. The writing isn’t perfect either. It’s difficult to tell why Valentina stays with Marco for so long when there are so many reasons to leave. Also, Marco’s character doesn’t ever change or learn.

Even with it’s flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this play. The acting was phenomenal and the story was well told.

Chatterbox will be performing at the Experimental Theater at UNM April 16th 7:30pm  and 17th 2:00pm     

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