Big Idea Theater’s Production of Jeff Talbot’s “The Submission”: notes and comments

Sometimes a play comes together in such a way that it doesn’t feel like theater, it feels like there isn’t any difference between the audience and the actors.  Big Idea Theater’s “The Submission” was one of those moments — there was no “audience”, there was only the event.

Jeff Talbott did an outstanding job (I would say incredible) of crafting a piece of work that is totally common and totally sublime.  The words are familiar, the people are familiar, the ideas are familiar, and yet the whole thing had the kind of uncommon clarity that makes for the very best kind of drama. A dark comedy that is so terribly painful and heartfelt.  It wasn’t watched — it was experienced.

Benjamin Ismail, Imani Mitchell, Joshua Glenn Robertson and Eason Donner were transformational.  I know that sounds trite or cliche, but that’s the best way to describe it. As individual characters and as a team they got to an incredible level of articulation and timing and dramatic effect.

Another word I would use is “giddy” — as in excited to see the thing unfold.

The four characters showed every nuance of ego, vanity, love, selflessness and venality.  The ambition was raw, tempered by decency, then undone by jealousy, then revealed for what it was and accepted.  The characters were stripped down, rebuilt, stripped down again, rebuilt and finally left in a numb stasis.  Not exactly forlorn, but not quite forgiven either.

How can people be so heroic and vile at the same time?  Well they can, and they were.  And I suppose the “they” is actually “we.”

A great evening of theater.  Many thanks and best wishes to the entire cast and crew, and congratulations to the entire BIT company


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