‘The Flick’ at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta
“The Flick” is only the second show I’ve seen at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta, but I really like this theater for its originality. The theater and productions are reminiscent of Off-Off-Broadway shows that I used to see while living in NYC back in the 1980s: small theaters and shows that are daring, different, and endings that aren’t tied up in a pretty big bow to show all’s well that end’s well. Sometimes things don’t end so well, and don’t begin well either. So it is with “The Flick.”
Avery (Jacobi Hollingshed), age 20, has just arrived on the job working in an old movie theater that still plays films on reels. Sam (Ben Barlow), 35, has been working there for years and longs to be promoted to run the projector. Rose (Julia Weeks), a pretty flirtatious college student, was promoted to that job ahead of him. She’s the cool chic who manipulates both men. Sam and Avery take tickets, make popcorn and sweep up after everyone has gone. Avery remembers the details of movies from the past 30 years and can play Six Degrees with the names of any two names actors. All three seem to be sad depressed characters, and not much happens until the second act.
“The Flick” won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama, so you’d think I would have liked it more. But the first act lagged and lagged. I was ready to walk out during intermission but was glad I watched the second act. The show finally picked up the pace, especially when Skylar (Jeffrey Allen Sneed), the newest employee arrives, but that didn’t happen until the end. There are a couple of poignant scenes where Avery divulges his past, Sam reveals some family problems and Rose really listens and shows compassion for the men.
If you go, be prepared for a long show and long pauses in between lines, especially when Sam and Avery speak. L-o-o-o-o-n-g pauses. L-o-o-o-n-g pauses. Many of them weren’t organic and some seemed unnaturally forced. The pauses drew out the production so much that the show clocked in at nearly three hours. Three. Hours. I kept wanting to shout, “Pick up the cues!”
Still, I like this Marietta theatre. Out of Box Theatre is a tiny theatre hidden away in a warehouse of building with probably 50 seats at most. Both shows I’ve seen had actors that were either OK or good. Not bad. Not great. I can deal with that because although I didn’t like this play, this theater takes a chance and brings progressive plays to the stage.
Written by Annie Baker, directed by Matthew Busch, “The Flick” runs through March 25 at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta.