In his Purgatorio, Dante had Roman poet Virgil to guide him through the land of the sinful (but not hell-bound) dead. Of course, in the divine comedy for our times, we have Colton (Bastion Carboni), a self-absorbed, painfully privileged vlogger (think Logan Paul) to guide us through purgatory.
As A VACATION begins, we watch a pre-recorded video of Colton gearing up to visit this new tourist spot with his bro-friend videographer, boasting about how much good he’s doing just by bringing attention to new places. (Carboni comes out in a “I help save lives” T-shirt for one scene.) Cutting to live-action, we get Colton’s vlogs about purgatory’s strange rituals—sailing over a river of souls, tasting human meat—all related with a tourist-awe hedonism. Carboni perfectly captures this uninteresting shallowness of the annoying-as-hell 20-something white vlogger. The confines of the character make all the humor dark and dry rather than easy or in-your-face, but the result is a smart, incisive condemnation of privilege, YOLO oversharing, and the sorry state of our culture.
[Poison Apple Initiative at Franky Bradley's, 1320 Chancellor Street] September 9-15, 2018; https://fringearts.com/event/vacation/