Corinna Burns’ INTERNET STALKER and Chris Davis’ BORTLE 8 is the perfect pairing of “two shows one roof” (not under, but on) in this year’s SoLow Fest. Each writer/performer is an absolutely mesmerizing storyteller, presenting their pieces in the format of direct address monologues filled with stunning visual descriptions. Both fully engage the audience, as they make direct eye contact, ask questions—some rhetorical, others not—and consider the relative values of fantasy versus reality, and solitude versus human connection.
Voyeurism and obsession inspired by a tragic family history, a series of unrequited loves, and the appealing anonymity of the digital media are the socio-psychological themes of INTERNET STALKER. Script in hand, Burns slowly reveals the intimate background motivations of her emotionally damaged and vulnerable character with humor and pathos, punctuating her delivery with telling sips of beer. Her longing for a relationship that is “actual, no longer virtual” is painfully evident, until her hopes of being “not so alone in our aloneness” are dashed by the truth.
In BORTLE 8, Davis (directed by Mary Tuomanen) employs poetic stream-of-consciousness narration, melding astronomer John Bortle’s scientific theory with self-exploration, personal reminiscences, and fantasy travel through the “terra incognita” of life and the cosmos. Delivered at an increasingly accelerated and frenetic pace, Davis’ quest for true darkness on his solitary “ship of imagination” bespeaks his (and our) need to connect with history, nature, and humanity, to embrace our shared experiences, feelings, and memories, and to find the points of light that are visible in the blackness, but are too often clouded by pollution and depression.
Three words for these two SoLow works: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! June 25-28, 2014 (at a home near the corner of 4th and Tasker; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for precise address ); solowfest.com.