Perhaps the name of the company is not implausible. SoonToBeFamous Productions showcases the outstanding talents of the local Fort Collins theater community.
The organization’s latest play, “Kiss This,” was produced in association with CSU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. The play, written and directed by CSU student Brandon Anderson, opened on Wednesday, March 27 and ran through Easter Sunday.
Anderson’s play deals with the trials and tribulations faced by an aspiring author and the escapism he experiences through his writing. A true visionary when it comes to style, Anderson implemented juxtapositions of light in a manner not seen in most theater productions. His prevailing technique of contrasting red and blue light and the shadow effect by which they were shown seemed almost cinematic. This, and Anderson’s biting cynicism, provided for a wonderfully engaging production.
The play’s protagonist, Maynard Smith, is a writer dealing with the pains of a breakup. As his love leaves him for a more accomplished writer, Maynard begins writing a play in which he will exact revenge upon the scoundrel. Secluding himself in a cabin, Maynard teeters on reality and fantasy in his writing process.
The setting of the play takes place entirely in the secluded cabin. Characteristics of the setting include a constant water drip and various forms of literature cluttering the cabin. It appeared as if the set designer had raided his local public library and filled the stage with these overly abundant books. The effect added to the commonly held belief that authors sit in secluded cabins with hundreds of books to refer to as they write.
Jon Noel was excellent in his role as Maynard. He did a fine job distinguishing when it was Maynard on stage and when the figments of Maynard’s imagination took over. Jennifer Purcell’s performance was equally inspiring. Her transitioning from the reserved to the seductive Isabel was flawless. Rounding out the cast was Tyler Davis’ performance as the target of Maynard’s revenge, writer Victor Keenan, and Isabel’s pretentious actor brother Guy, played by Josh Anderson.
The play combined Hemingway, cocaine, a goldfish, a fur coat made of cats, gripes about overpaid actors, violence, “The Big Lebowski” references and tracks from Bad Religion’s “Stranger Than Fiction.” It would appear that these tangential elements would provide little or no structure for a play. What made it all work was Anderson’s ambivalence regarding the reality of the situation.
Anderson’s method of letting the audience decipher the reality of the situation made the play all that more enticing. The writer’s struggle is an age-old plot topic: however, a struggling writer who carries out revenge through his writing is refreshingly original. With an auspicious play like “Kiss This,” Brandon Anderson may be closer to stardom than we think. n