Last night I saw Company One’s production of Hookman by Lauren Yee, put on by xx playlab, Directed by Greg Maraio, and Dramaturged by Ilana Brownstein. It was a very interesting experience. I was completely engaged the entire time, partially because I was not always sure what was going on, but also because it was incredibly exciting, entertaining, and thought provoking. Because I had to be so actively involved in figuring out the story line, it was intellectually stimulating as well. It was clear that this is a work in progress, but I found it to be a very bold, exciting show, that explores important issues such as rape, fear, violence, friendship, loss, and the significance of daily mundane moments. I was very impressed by most of the acting in the show as well. The set was exciting: it featured a car on a rotating floor, a dorm room, and a bloody apron. In fact, there’s just lots of blood everywhere, pretty much the whole play. This bloodiness mixed with humor, mixed with very contemporary, daily college life, created an entertaining, slightly disturbing world for the funny, scary, disturbing events of the play to unfold in. Reality seemed to fold in on itself as the main character experiences many different versions of reality. We quickly see that we are seeing the world through her eyes, and that she is an unreliable narrator. I was very confused as to what the play was actually about until the very end. I understood that we were exploring fear, urban myths, loss, romance, and rape. But I didn’t quite understand the point or specific story that the play was telling about these themes until the main character’s (Lexi’s) closing speech. Her friend tells her that confronting hookman, who has been haunting her throughout the show, does not have to be scary. Lexi then tells the hookman that she knows she’s going to die. She fights the hookman, with less fear and more eagerness than we have seen before, and ultimately it seems that he kills her. However, after being stabbed, she sits back up and says that that wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. From this I took away that her fear of death, had been haunting her so intensely that she had been unable to really listen and focus and be in the moment living her life. She’d seen death everywhere and that had blinded her, even harmed her. Because of this fear she had crashed the car that killed her friend. I am a little unclear how the rape plays into all of this other than the man who raped her is the shape in which her fear manifested itself. I do think however, that the play is an interesting exploration of how we create our own realities. We can be our own villains and heroes. The dialogue was very quick, fun, and entertaining, which was an accessible fun way to explore such potentially heavy topics. I left the theatre feeling inspired, uplifted, thoughtful, slightly confused, but excited to see where this play will go.
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