Matrix Live! (A Parody) at Alley Theater this month [Theater]


The Alley Theater once again amazes me with their creative talent for "making do". During Matrix Live! (A Parody), there is ONE piece of scenery on the stage for the entire play, and that is a large chair. It reminds me of t-shirts we had in our high school theater department: 

"You know you've done community theater if:
  • You've ever threatened someone with a gun held together with duct tape
  • You've ever pushed a couch off stage in heels
  • You've ever pushed a couch off stage in heels..and you're a man
  • You've fixed a set mid-show...with duct tape"
Alley Theater has become a master of many of the "skills" listed on that t-shirt. For example, elevator doors were made from two people holding a surf board and a rectangular plank of wood side by side. Other costumes and props were things that were already backstage from other shows. Alley theater is not only great at recycling props and set pieces; they are great at recycling actors. A very strong ensemble cast played many parts in this production as is customary in the shows I've seen there.
Some of the cast members were also in Point Break Live! PBL! is the show that inspired this crew to produce this Matrix spoof. It seemed at times that the production was trying to be PBL!  There were several elements that were almost exactly the same. There were a lot of references back to PBL! riffing on the shared cast members. Inside jokes are  ok, but you're losing the audience members who have not seen PBL! The writing continues to be a little confusing because the Wachowski Brothers bust in and out of the scenes. The director in PBL! popped in occasionally to call "Cut' and replace an actor with a stunt double, but the directors in this spoof come in to fight with each other (and cast members), fill some of the roles, deliberate about what they're doing, and express surprise and panic that they signed an agreement for a trilogy when they thought it was just one; That's exactly how I felt as an audience member. I signed on for one play and got three.  Thank the theatrical powers that be for several breaks, because this show is about three hours long.
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