PARROT TALK – a crowdfunded play written and produced by Julius Ferraro – follows a simple narrative arc of a woman (Christina May) dying on her way to the grocery store; however, nothing about her journey is linear.
It travels along an interconnected, galactic continuum through space and time, periodically stopping to contemplate the intersections of sound and how humans attach meanings to those sounds. Playing with conventions of repetition, signal distortion, reverb, and outside white noise, Elizabeth Atkinson creates a fantastical soundscape that is as much a character as the parrot (Danielle Solomon) – dressed in wonder woman garb – squawking center stage.
Director Jack Tamburri deliberately uses a bare-bone, almost white canvas set to weave us in and out of various landscapes – through a couple’s home, a lecture hall, city streets, and finally inside a grocery store – trusting the audience’s imagination to fill in the imagery while relying on the descriptive prowess of Hallie Martenson’s narration to set the stage. In this sense, Parrot Talk is directly in dialogue with its audience working through an equation of raw emotion and societal convention, asking the questions that percolate on one’s death bed: what does it all mean and why does it even matter?
The play’s tone, however, is not at all morose. It incorporates a wide range of humor that ripples through the audience at varying times delightful in its absurdity and unapologetic in its disjointed form.
Ferraro and Tamburri made a brave artistic decision to leave a month gap between opening and closing weekend, allowing Parrot Talk to evolve with the real-time feedback provided from a live audience. It is easy to be forgiving of scenes not fully realized, jarring moments, or characters not deeply known because it is understood this is an explorative draft still distilling itself to greatness.
Confident it will achieve this level as all the right ingredients are already here, with a brilliant ensemble cast whose chemistry moves and shifts in front of the audience like a sound wave begging to be heard.
[Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street] March 31- April 30, 2017; davinciartalliance.org