REVIEW: Evolution/Creation (Quest Theatre Ensemble)

Evolution/Creation is Unusual/Fascinating

 Evolution/Creation

Quest Theatre Ensemble presents:

Evolution/Creation

 

Written and directed by Andrew Park
Music by
Scott Lamps
Musical direction by Gary Powell
At Quest Blue Theatre, 1609 W. Gregory
Thru March 28th (more info)

by Katy Walsh

Science/Religion. Explosion/Organic. Inevitable/Mystical. Quest Theatre presents Evolution/Creation, a theatrical experience for the senses. Upon arrival at the Quest Blue Theatre, each audience member receives a red or green wristband. The red tags enter the doorway marked “Evolution.” The green tags go to door #2, “Creation.” evolution4The theatre has been split into two sides with a nine member orchestra straddling the center dividing line. Two different plays perform simultaneously with shared music. After the intermission, the audience goes through the opposite assigned door to experience the flip side. With no spoken dialogue, Evolution/Creation is all about innovative imagery set to music. The show starts with dramatic Latin chorale singing  from scientists and monk types on each stage. They are separated by the band. As the actors stand from the kneeling position, the orchestra sits. Curtains rise on either side. The band and the other stage are no longer visible. In the beginning, there was….

First up, Creation! It’s the Genesis story plus the Noah tale to tell the origins of how the world began and began again. The cast is dressed in black with oversized paper mache heads. The strong religious overtones are represented with the Creator’s huge hands. Each day’s goal is announced with parchment type scrolls. Each day’s success is demonstrated with puppetry and nature. It’s a wholesome pageantry of seasons, stars, horses and other organic elements integrated in a sequential order of occurrence. Adam and Eve arrive on the scene, eat an apple and Eden is destroyed. The destruction continues with a flood survived by Noah and his animal selection. When the rain stops, creation the sequel happens again. The Creation play has a slow pacing innocence with familiar simplicity.

Later, Evolution! It’s the big bang version of how life started from nothing. Initially, a dancer clad in red pieces together ribbons to spell out “Love” and then continues until it spells “Evolve.” The cast is dressed in black with matching hoods. Darkness is a strong theme for the unknown. Rain, smoke, strobe/black lights are the multiple evolution3 techniques used to illustrate different advancements in life forms: lights to amoebas to dinosaurs. The narration of evolution is a projection of the process’ description over billions of years. Evolution is the edgier play representing a stark happenstance explanation of the world.

Both shows are the ultimate visual of the juxtaposition in these competing theories: science vs religion. One of the best moments occurs when Evolution briefly shows an overlap between theories on the monkey to human spectrum. Written and directed by Andrew Park, this is a fascinatingly unusual theatrical experience. It’s the coordination of two plays, eighteen cast members, and a nine piece orchestra, composed by Scott Lamps and directed by Gary Powell. It’s a show that could easily be viewed multiple times to determine all the nuisances. I’m still puzzling over the music score. Practically speaking, it seems like it has to be the same for both shows. But the plays are so different, the music must be too. I continue to be intrigued….

In their mission to “Inform, Delight, Inspire and Unite” the community, Quest Theatre experiences are free/donation. The audience is an eclectic combination of young/old. Families have an affordable opportunity/privilege. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cell phones that disrupted the performances’ flow on Saturday night. It was the constant chatter of two (8-10 year old) girls. NOTE to parents: If your children haven’t evolved into respectful audience members, you need to stick to children’s theatre or create a stay-at-home family night.

Rating: ★★★

 

Running Time: 80 minutes includes a ten minute intermission and a ten minute delayed start. Production is free – reservations recommended. (make reservation)

 evolution2

3 WORDS: Balancing strong opinions on religion and science, Michelle sums up her experience “love to evolve.”

WAITING FOR THE SHOW

In our quest to evolve into higher level beings, we stop at In In Fine Spirits, 5418 N. Clark for a post-show libation. Although bustling, the friendly staff works to accommodate us quickly. Within five minutes, we have stools at the bar. Fulfilling my request for a full-bodied red wine, Natalie encourages me to sample three wines from the menu. I choose the Zinfandel. Natalie pours me a generous glass. Michelle samples and is sold on a sparkling shiraz. We both love the Chef’s choices for a delectable cheese plate. The lively atmosphere is festive cocktail chatter. The efficient service is overly attractive and customer focused. We certainly left in fine spirits for home/bed.

3 Responses

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