Review: The Unseen
The Unseen is a witty, well written, dark (and often funny) play by Craig Wright. The setting is a prison where two men, Valdez (Christopher David Murray) and Wallace (Matthew Dieckman), have been lock up in individual cells for 11 years. They have both been tortured constantly by a large man called “Smash” (Matt Pavik). Their prison cells are aligned so that neither Wallace or Valdez can see each other; they can only hear each others voice. This play captures much of what I love about theater. It is an experience that could not exist in any other form. The set design (by Cameron McFee) gives the perfect blend of claustrophobia, openness, and a touch of the surreal. Valdez and Wallace talk constantly to keep each other sane (playing the same word game from a to z). They each have their theories of why they are locked up and what their torturers want from them. Wallace is sure that their escape is only a rational plan away. Valdez is emotional and the story about buttons rings of truth. Chris Murray and Matt Dieckman both stand out as thoroughly convincing. Matt Pavik is good and menacing as “Smash” but his over the top monolog near the end seems to be designed to shock. The only moment that seemed strange was the intermission. The play is originally a one-act. An intermission comes at about 40 minutes in. When the lights come up the actors have move from their cells to offstage. I thought for to myself for a moment, “they are free”. This caused the play to lose some of the great tension that had been building. All in all, this play is thoroughly worth seeing. As if a good time was not enough, there was also free beer.
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