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December 10, 2008 > Theater Review: Comic Potential

Theater Review: Comic Potential

By Victoria Gu

"Your son is dying."

It's a typical scene at a hospital bedside: the weeping mother, a consoling doctor and the bed-ridden son. However, there is one thing amiss- they are all actoids (robot-actors).

In American High School's performance of Alan Ayckbourn's strikingly original play, "Comic Potential," soap stars have been replaced with pre-programmed actoids and decent television is a hard thing to come by. During the taping of this hospital drama, Adam, an aspiring screenwriter and the nephew of the show's producer, arrives looking for an opportunity to learn from his idol, director Chandler "Chace" Tate. After he is left alone in the television studio, he soon discovers that one of the actoids, the nurse, a.k.a. Jacie Triplethree, is capable of laughing, and even human emotion. Thus begins the whirlwind romance between two individuals from different worlds.

The story may seem complicated, but in truth, the theme remains quite simple: the power of love conquers all, even high-paid TV executives and the police force of the future.

Actoids, played by Lopez, Kyle Ebert, Dominique Palafax and Manuel Barrera brought pizzazz to the show. The main character of Jacie is exceptionally played by Vicky Lopez, who fully embodies an actoid with an acute case of multiple-personality disorder. Chace and Adam (Tyler Williams and Stuart Gegenheimer) were also well-performed and added a down-to-earth quality to the "foreseeable future."

"Comic Potential" is risque to say the least. With constant swearing and sexual jokes and innuendo in every scene, it is obvious why this play is for mature audiences only. Most of the swearing, in particular Chace's, was not needed - the expletives seemed to be included just to get a few laughs.

Though many obscenities, awkward pauses, and an occasional lengthy scene, one bright spot of the production was the set; a revolving platform smoothly morphs from one scene to the next. The designers and scenic artists did a fantastic job producing a futuristic and flexible set. Although the costumes were a little too contemporary for a production that takes place in a time when actoids have replaced actors, costume designers did manage to pull off realistic looks that brought the characters to life.

All in all, this satirical comedy was heart-warming and surprisingly professional for a high school production. In a world of non-stop turbulence, American High School's "Comic Potential" offers a desperately needed dose of laughter and comic relief.

Comic Potential
Thursday - Saturday, December 11-13
7 p.m.
American High School Theatre 70
36300 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-1776 ext 57702

Students: $8
General Admission: $10

For Mature Audiences Only

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