By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Continues at the Vancouver Fringe Festival 2018 (Sept 6-14)
Existentialism gets a huge boost with Angels & Aliens, a play I saw at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival. this play by Jeff Leard and Sydney Hayduk tackles an age-old question of where did we come from and if we are being manipulated by a greater force, hence the title. No Ancient Aliens here. A theory on how life is not simply binary (plagued with yes and nos) is implied.
The next time I play Sim City, I will have to be careful in which window I look in on. Here, the game is called iBang. The players are Jeff and Syd, playing opposing sides in this game—angels and aliens are guiding humanity to peaceful coexistence. The characters in the digital universe are also Jeff and Syd. In real life, they have a “domestic” squabble and how they deal is like the game they are playing. Shades of The Matrix can be found here.
The conflict comes from how two formerly Platonic roommates deal after a moment of unbridled passion. I may have blinked and missed the lead up to why this happened. Sex without the love is a tricky subject matter to discuss. Their awkward morning after make up some laughs. The true guffaws come from the said supernatural forces explaining what’s going on from alternative perspectives. Leard and Hayduk are terrific as the aliens Bob and Bob. They swiftly change into these other roles by the simple flicker of a lighting cue. As Angels, nothing new is known in terms of the roles they traditionally represent in many a literary or theatrical work.
When the talents are playing these cosmic characters, I am in love. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy style intro certainly set the tone and I wished that stayed consistent throughout the show. Leard is a powerhouse. I certainly noticed the social critique, and it made me think about where I am in this world. Do I need certain people in my life to be happy, and who can I kick out? Part of this show is to reveal how two different individuals can negotiate a truce. This multi-layered play offered a lot to think about.
4 Stars out of 5