A View from the Cliff: “Quake” shakes it up at Brooklyn College

Poor, poor Lucy. She’s on a mission to find her perfect soul mate. Yes, she’ll  rock the heavens and earth to discover him in “Quake” by Melanie Marnich at Brooklyn College.

Director Jonathon Musser skillfully sends our heroine on a bizarre road trip from the northeastern forests to the Golden Gate Bridge. The large performance space is intentionally bare. Only some oversized rectangular boxes are utilized. Two large screens upstage (projection design by Musser and Chris Clarke) effectively provide orientation by projecting urban and rural landscapes.

Wide-eyed, enthusiastic Lucy is played by Callan McDermott who could be the classic girl next door, except for her frantic, unchecked behavior! She never loses her energy and never changes the same white dress despite a three thousand mile trek. So, is the story a comedy? A farce? Actually, it feels more like science fiction with a twinkle in its eye.

Just look at “That Woman,” played by Amy Lopatin. She’s an astrophysicist who just happens to be a vicious serial killer. In addition to her gory persona, there is unmitigated power and purpose in her actions. In fact, Lucy idolizes this charismatic wild woman. Lopatin’s amazing transformation near the play’s conclusion is also wonderfully ironic.

In a quest for the perfect lover, Lucy beds then abandons a list of romantic stereotypes. Every one of them is placed on a pedestal but just as quickly plummets to failure.

Their personalities are widely varied. Some are kindly. There’s “Nice Man,” nice guy “Roger” and “Cooper” (Francis Hacker, Shomari Pinnock and Henry Ponthieu). Other boyfriends play rough, particularly “Auto Repair Man” (Jacob Merwin). Some are wise, like “Angel Bruce” (Javon Minter). Still others are not. They include Guy and Brian (Alex Mendez and Joseph Hernandez) and Jock (Patrick Robillard) who never removes his bicycle helmet and never slows down.

The women on Lucy’s journey are well played cartoon caricatures. There’s Dr. Psychiatrist (Tina Wong-Lu) who scribbles and speaks in one word bursts. The strangely calm store clerk (Jayna Tapia) has a rather large and bloody bullet wound. The very agitated flight attendant (Alexandra Slater) has no difficulty shrieking with unhinged conviction.

For information on this and future productions check their website at http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/theater/ or call the box office at 718-951-4500.  As always, save me a seat on the aisle.


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