Now running until May 26, Actor’s Theatre is performing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Flick.” Set in a rundown movie theatre on the verge of being sold off, the show explores the conversations, and lives of what happens in between each movie showing from the perspective of the theatre’s employees.
If there is one element of this story that will stand out to audience members when leaving, it would be humanity. The play strips away the glitz and glamor that you normally would see when viewing a larger than life musical, and gives you the down-to-Earth eye level perspective of three people who work at a movie theatre. Annie Baker knew for certain that this story didn’t need heavy story arcs or larger than life character motifs to gain the audience’s attention. In fact there is a solid amount of humanity in watching three 20-somethings sweeping popcorn just to make ends meet.
The Flick knows what each of its character archetypes are within it’s narrative. Avery, played by Noah King-Bates, is the movie fanatic, is an awkward nerd. ( Rose, played by Sydney Doornbos), is the punk rock out of college party gal. and Sam, played by Jake Mate, is the 30-something underachiever. These characters each bounce off each other in the script with their different insights to their own personal lives. They can go from challenging each other, and pushing their coworkers out of their comfort zones in one scene, to simply exchanging everyday conversations with one another in the next. Giving the play a true perspective on everyday working life.
In fact, the writer shifts expectations within these character molds, by often acknowledging then immediately breaking away from stereotypes. Just when you think a character is about to reveal a certain aspect of their life that fits the typical mold of the “nerd” or “the drop out,” the story flips those things to reveal something that isn’t what you expected. Making this whole experience feel human.
“The Flick” doesn’t feature larger-than-life sets, nor show-stopping, well-choreographed tap numbers. It contains something more powerful than either of those. It’s quiet. Whether we are given scenes of pure silence, or simply just everyday conversations in a movie theater. The Flick is a humorous, well-written piece that tells the story of the people forced to clean up after our popcorn.
“The Flick” is currently being performed at Actors Theatre until May 26. For more information on tickets visit ActorsTheatre.com.