Salty, a play written by AJ Clauss and directed by David Hsieh, takes place in the mid-west, sometime in the future. The story follows a quirky cast of zoo-keepers and penguins. The main zookeepers are Desiree (Varinique Davis) and Winnie (Angela DiMarco) and the main penguins are Silver (Tony Magana Jr.) and Bowie (David S. Hogan). The story follows the trials between the two couples and how they deal with them. There are very heartwarming moments and comedic relief, but don’t let that distract you from the play’s deeper and mature themes.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the play was Angela’s performance. She brought the quirkiness of a zookeeper to the stage but was able to shift to a serious tone. Varinique’s performance also complemented Angela’s with her quiet and serious demeanor. They played off each other very well and were believable as a couple. Tony and David’s chemistry resonated with the audience. They kept the audience engaged and rooting for their success.
The stage managing (Kristina Heiden-Lundberg), lighting design (by Robert Falk) and the sound design (by Robertson Witmer) added spectacle and a zoo-like atmosphere. Furthermore, the bird noises to accompany the silence helped create the zoo-like atmosphere. The majority of the play takes place within the boxed cage of the penguin’s exhibit. Blocks and other geometric shapes scattered across the stage, reinforcing the ‘cage’ aesthetic. The backlight was also in the shape of the square. This made the whole set feel unified under a common theme.
THEMES AND AUDIENCE
While the production was enjoyable and funny at times, it tackles mature themes that makes an impact on the audience. These include the hardships of parenthood, negative effects of climate change and animal abuse and endangerment. Mature language is also used. However, they do not linger on the depressing themes for too long, the light-hearted humor has its moments with the help of good pacing.
Salty, by AJ Clauss. React Theatre, 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave Arts, Seattle, WA. Salty’s premiere in the west coast lasts until August 18, 2019. More information can be found at their website: http://www.reacttheatre.org/
And tickets can be purchased at: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event