Copious Anger not Love
Like the other Copious Love production I reviewed CODENAME: KANSAS, Witch Hunter, reminded me of the Flanders and Swan’s song “P** P* B**** B** D******” or “Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers” whose refrain is “Let’s talk Rude.” Flanders and Swan satirized the use of gratuitous profanity among the British intelligentsia ( in the early 60’s) and compares it to children swearing for attention.
In CODENAME:KANSAS, Witch Hunter, an original script by Dick Phillips and Brendan Barr, instead of witty dialogue, the writers substituted tiresome four-letter words, instead of a coherent plot, they substituted violence, instead of character development, they substituted unmitigated anger, instead of clear speech the actors shouted and screeched incomprehensibly. Only one actor could speak clearly, Corinne Marie as Glenada, but she was generally drowned out by the music and sound effects.
Borrowing from the 1968 Sci-Fi movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, which featured an overly controlling computer with a distinctive voice, the evening did start out promising, as a digital screen flashed messages until the countdown when the show started. In CODENAME: KANSAS, they used the talking computer to narrate the complicated exposition. Unfortunately, it was miked and between the inadequate sound system and the unclear speech, most of the exposition was lost on those of us who sat in the back row.
The show also borrowed from the Wizard of Oz and from the recent craze for post-apocalyptic Zombie-horror. Essentially the plot was that in a post-apocalyptic era there is a war between the last human survivors and the “malformed technomancing witches”. An elite warrior, named Kansas, played by Madeleine Noonan, trained in both “analog combat”, physical combat, extreme use of profanity but not in voice and speech, is transported to the future after putting on a pair of red shinny sequined boots stolen from someone she has just disarmed. After lots more violence, shouting and some very high decibel screeching, the show ends in victory as she penetrates a castle and kills a witch.
With all the digital special effects the audience was visually overwhelmed and could not keep track of what was happening on stage, as there was too much distraction. In short, it was 90 minutes of confusion, and overly loud un-pleasantness. Judging by the applause at the end of the show and the alcohol consumption, however; quite a few people enjoyed the show.
The strength of this production was the costuming by Allegra Rege and Jeremiah Holt, as well as the hair and makepup by Saya Burchfield. Some of costumes reminded me of the costumes in the 1950’s TV sci-fi TV show Flash Gordon, so they were very effective. The costume, hair and make-up of the witch Elfesto was to die for. However misused, the digital special effects were spectacular and a great credit to the Academy of Interactive Entertainment Seattle Campus (AIE)
I would not recommend this show for those who wish to avoid watching violence or hearing mumbled lines shouted loudly; however, quite a few of the audience seemed to like it. If you play video games CODENAME:KANSAS, Witch Hunter will probably appeal to you.
CODENAME:KANSAS, Witch Hunter. Copious Love Productions , 12th Ave Arts, 1620-12th Ave, Capitol Hill Seattle 98122, (difficult parking) Thurs-Sat @7:30 til Nov. 21. www.brownpapertickets.com. Info- www.CopiousLove.org