Recent Tragic Events, by Craig Wright, is a play that is sort of about 9/11. With national tragedy as his backdrop, Wright weaves together strands of 9/11, fate, chance, and puppets. Directed with deftness by Georgette Verdin, Interrobang Theatre’s recent production of Recent Tragic Events hits all the required marks for a solid production and evokes curiosity and intrigue without relying the fifteen year old event.
Together with the intimate stage of Athenaeum Theatre’s studio theatre, Recent Tragic Events invites the audience into the living room of Waverly (Laura Berner Taylor) on the unfortunately scheduled blind date of 9/12. This realistic setting is prefaced by the stage manager asking an audience member to flip a coin, and the result will propel one of two different versions of the script forward as tonight’s performance. These variables, the coin and the realistic setting, play with the familiar realism present in Wright’s script. The cast does an admirable job of handling Wright’s language and archetypical characterizations. This is to set up the reversal in act two, in which the stage manager is revealed to be an actor, the device of the coin false, and the final character introduced as a puppet. It is really a lot to process, but Verdin’s careful direction of the first act transitions the audience into a state of gleeful curiosity.
The play deals with tragedy and the web of a person’s choices. If we look at someone’s life in a telescopic manner, then none of the embroiled everyday decisions matter. Recent Tragic Events successfully deals with this nihilism by smothering it in absurdity. Puppets, coins, and crazy neighbors successful distract Waverly and the audience from the sense of impending doom about her missing sister.
Recent Tragic Events closed on April 10th. You can find out more about Interrobang Theatre and the upcoming production of Rajiv Joseph’s The North Pool on their website.