Comic Potential—Review

by David Schlachter

My review of the November 27th, 2007 performance of All Saints High School’s production of “Comic Potential”, for the Cappies.

Rational quickly becomes irrational in All Saints High School’s praiseworthy production of “Comic Potential”.

Written by Alan Ayckbourn and first performed in 1998, Comic Potential is set in a future where androids (actoids) have replaced human actors. One such actoid, known as JC F31 333 (Jacie) is different from the rest. Not only does she laugh, but she falls in love with writer Adam Trainsmith. When the studio decides that she must be destroyed, Adam panics and kidnaps her. What ensues questions Jacie’s existence and nature, coming together for a satisfying conclusion.

Strong acting was a highlight of All Saints’ production, as the entire 20-person ensemble kept their focus, staying in character and not detracting from the flow of the production, despite some lines being rushed.

Brett Geddes, as Adam Trainsmith, developed his character of an idealistic young writer with articulate precision. From his timid entrance to the studio, to his tender reading with Jacie and his emotionally intense breakdown, he kept his character very believable. Sarah Swire, as Jacie, moved and spoke with precise attention to detail in an excellent interpretation of her character. Her self-choreographed dance scene, her rant on love, and all her interactions with Adam were highlights of her performance. As an actoid discovering comedy and love, she persuasively expressed her amazement and frustration with these irrational novelties.

Diego Arvelo played a memorable role as Chandler Tate, an ill-tempered and frustrated director, once of classic comedies, now a dead-end soap opera. Arvelo effectively developed his character’s strong personality from being almost intolerable, to being almost amiable.

The ensemble of James Brule (Lester Trainsmith) and Jeff Donaldson (Marimon) delivered a convincing performance. As Donaldson spoke, Brule would silently mouth the words at the same time, which solidified the ensemble’s premise. Donaldson’s stage makeup was also notable, making his character look ancient.

Though some actors had difficulty using their microphones in the first act, it did not detract from their performance and was improved by the second act. Sound effects and music were consistently on cue, and even though some scene transitions were less than quiet, the stage crew worked very efficiently for generally quick transitions.

The production closed with a particularly satisfying ending. Strong performances by all characters, especially Adam, Jacie, Chandler, and Lester, brought emotional intensity to the final scenes and saw significant character development.

All Saints’ production of Comic Potential reminds us all that some of the most enjoyable things in life are clearly irrational, and yet characterize our humanity.