[THEATER REVIEW] Welcome to Your Alternative Reality Explores Life in Trump’s America
Since last November’s election it sometimes feels that the world has turned upside down. Open Fist Theatre Company’s Welcome to Your Alternative Reality, written and directed by Catherine Butterfield and Ron West, gives voice to the angst many feel when faced with changes they find disturbing.
This series of skits are akin to what one might see on Saturday Night Live, but they are more sophisticated in concept and delivery. Most are a parody on life in the age of Trump.
The play opens as a liberal anchor, Nylah Green (Emily Tuñon) is starting her first gig at a conservative news outlet. Setting her principles aside, she praises the new president for his leadership skills. Her beloved, but cranky grandfather (Josh Banday) expresses shock. He detests the president’s stand on climate change. Grandpa and his friend, a fellow patient at a nursing home and a climate change denier, argue about the issue in the sweltering heat.
Subsequent skits take on anxieties that drive some liberals to seek psychiatric help. A group therapy session in which people confess the reasons they failed to vote and a sexual encounter between two high level government functionaries at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort are hilarious. Another sketch, “Spicer,” deals with what the future might hold for the presidential press secretary.
The skits follow one another in rapid succession with quick costume changes and without transitions. The acting skills of the talented cast keeps it all on track. I felt that the play was a little too long and could be tightened by cutting several of the skits that aren’t relevant to the theme.
James Spencer’s flashy scenic design and lighting by Dan Reed are a plus in this production.
Welcome to Your Alternative Reality will appeal to those who are appalled by the current administration’s statements regarding alternative truth and fake news. Obviously, those who support the Administration will find the play disturbing.
Welcome to Your Alternative Reality runs through August 1st. Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 7 p.m. Atwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Ave. Atwater Village. Free parking in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater or on the street. General admission, $20; students/seniors/veterans, $15. (323) 882-6912 or www.openfist.org