Monday, May 08, 2017

Company One Presents "Peerless" by Jiehae Park - Through May 27th

Company One has formed a unique partnership with Boston Public Library. "Peerless" by Jiehae Park is the first production to be presented in the newly refurbished Rabb Hall. This creative partnership promises many benefits to the Boston theater community.

In this play, Ms. Park addresses herself to the complexities of gaining admission to a top university - THE TOP UNIVERSITY. Identical twins M and L have done everything in their power to game the system as they understand it. The sisters have moved on their own to a rural school district to increase their geographical chances of selection. They are Asian, so they can play the diversity card. They have taken every possible AP course, so their adjusted GPAs are 4.8 and 4.6. But disaster strikes when a nerdy "undeserving" male student from their high school is admitted. They know that this is a zero sum game, and only one student from the district will attend THE UNIVERSITY.

As the action unfolds, the playwright asks many questions: How far will someone go to ensure admission to the ultimate college? What values will be compromised? Is the bond between twin sisters strong enough to endure the appearance of competition between them? Is the "system" rigged to force adolescents to become dehumanized in the process of applying?

Director Steven Bogart has this energetic cast of five talking and acting at a fast pace, befitting the pace at which Millennials live and communicate. M (Kim Klasner) and L (Khloe Alice Lin) in particular talk with each other in a patter that almost feels like Morse Code. They can finish each other's sentences, so the back and forth smatterings of phrases come like machine gun fire between the twins. James Wechsler stands out as D, the student who has gained early acceptance. His allergy to tree nuts proves to be a crucial plot point. Brenna Fitzgerald is effective as the enigmatic Dirty Girl, a disheveled Oracle at Delphi who shares mystical foreknowledge with the twins. Kadahj Bennett is BF, M's boyfriend who gets tired of her machinations and opts out of the prom date and the relationship.

Kim Klasner as M, Kadahj Bennett as BF
James Wechsler as D, Khloe Alice Lin as L
"Peerless" by Jiehae Park
Company One
Boston Public Library
Through May 27th
Photo by Jeremy Fraga 

Set Design is by Jiyoung Han, Lighting by Emmett Buhmann, Costumes by Miranda Giurleo, Sound by Lee Schuna

As currently constituted, the process of gaining admission to elite universities is flawed and contains many hidden biases. Ms. Park's play shines a much needed spotlight on that process, and prompts us to ask questions that are long overdue. Company One invites exploration of these questions with Talkback Sessions after performances of the play.

Through May 27th at Boston Public Library, Copley Square.

Company One Website



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