Trains, Ball-Change and Automobiles
Guns, too. The second set of shows at the Festival of Independent Theatres takes on heavy topics, light foot-action and two supercool characters.
by Kris Noteboom for TheaterJones.com, published Friday, June 14, 2013
DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN!! How is it even possible to see a play with that title and not excitedly yell it out like a 5-year-old might when asked to come up with the awesomest thing ever?
Let’s face it. FIT has been dominated by serious, heady, existential pieces this year.
John Michael gave audiences a delightful respite, but for the most part it’s been pretty heavy. Leave it to Brad McEntire, via his Audacity Theatre Lab, to lighten the mood a little as his ever-amazingly creative brain has brought forth unto the world Dinosaur and Robot Stop a Train.
It’s a super-simple setup. Dinosaur (Jeff Swearingen) and Robot (McEntire) have somehow been transported through time and space into a field where they subsequently save a stupid little girl from getting hit by a train. The play is the press conference held by Dinosaur and Robot as they attempt to explain their story.
With a combination of some pretty stellar physical humor, aided by the wonderfully creative costumes by Ruth Engel-McEntire, a bit of slapstick, satire, audience participation and vaudeville, DARSAT is a winner for all ages. It’s perfectly paced and when it’s over it feels all too soon.
Sure there isn’t really any deeper focus at play. This is a straightforward frivolity—which is pretty much what makes it so great. Because even though a general rule is that anything that’s good must have some sort of subtext, McEntire so thoroughly subverts that notion and distances himself from any inkling of commentary that he actually ends up creating something that’s more than some subliminal critique of the world. It’s the embrace of the inner child, the latent creativity present in everyone, the sense of wonder that is all too often forgotten. Dinosaur and Robot Stop a Train is the most essential iteration of fun. And that’s, well, fun.
◊ Dinosaur and Robot Stop a Train is performed in the following performance blocks: 8 p.m. Friday, June 14; 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15; 5 p.m. Saturday, June 22.