DOWNTOWN URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL
“The Vast Mystery of Who You Are: Part One”
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
The central character of Kim Yaged’s sharp new drama, The Vast Mystery of Who You Are: Part One, indulges in sex parties, she says, just to satisfy her primal urges. But it becomes apparent that something else is prowling inside her that is more complicated, though just as fierce.
Yaged, the prolific and provocative author of the award winning Hypocrites & Strippers, Mates and Never Said, tears open her characters through language. Named “You” (Marissa Carpio), her central character is relentlessly articulate, though it gradually becomes apparent that her mastery of contemporary buzzwords and politically correct catchphrases actually serves as a kind of armor. They shield her, but also separate her from people she professes to care for.
And she is not alone in her loneliness. Her intergender would-be lover “Dritte” (Bridget Ori) actually refuses to be touched. And this is the first play in memory that lists a separate Intimacy Director (Claire Warden).
As the play’s title suggests, sometimes the most “woke” among us are actually asleep to what’s going on inside their own heads and hearts.
As “You,” Carpio seemed a little tentative on opening night, but the confusion and frustration from her would-be male partner “First” (Gareth E. Lawson), her female buddy “Two” (Gulshan Mia), and) was palpable.
Director Rebecca Cunningham staged the show on a nearly empty stage, with three alternating playing areas designed by Omayra Garriga Casiano and lit by Karim Rivera Rosado.
When You is finally ready to seriously question her own presumptions, she finds her coldness has driven the others away. She makes a breakthrough in the final line of the 55-minute play, leaving the audience eager to learn what Part Two has in store.
The Vast Mystery of Who You Are: Part One was presented on April 13 as part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival.