by Ed Malin · February 24, 2014
Playwrights on New Plays #48 Ed Malin shares his thoughts on A List of Irrational fears for Future Leaders of the World, part of FRIGID new york Let me tell you what fascinated me about this play. In life, there is violence and then there is what you do to process and overcome it. (That is, if you survive in the first place. Critical Point Theatre hails form the land of Virginia Tech, where the legacy of the 2007 shooting affects everyone.)
The title A List Of Irrational Fears For Future Leaders Of The World is explained by playwright Andrew Terrance Kaberline and the ensemble as referring to twenty-somethings' difficulties succeeding post-college. Kenrick (Mr. Kaberline), who walks with a cane ever since an incident when he fell off the roof of his house, perhaps symbolizes the fears that limit his generation. In conversations with Belinda (Coryn Carson), someone I believe might be his therapist, Kenrick claims he has no fears at all - an anomaly which could destabilize his community. The community of Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech, "needs" fear as a "motivator".
Lying about having fears or lying about having no fears are two coping mechanisms for these characters, and are what make this play so delicious to contemplate. At times, the characters rewind the action (accompanied by the sound of a tape rewinding) and suggest a conscious distortion of the story. How do we respond to terror or inability to act? By rewriting ourselves, perhaps?
Kenrik helps Jorja (Lani Fu)--whose eye was supposedly beaten by her cohabitating non-boyfriend, a pizza delivery guy named Carter--by taking her into his home for an extended period of time. Indeed, Carter (Tyler Ward) soon arrives at the house holding a pizza and looking for Jorja, but denies having done her any injury. Carter has deeply-rooted anger issues. "Is that what she told you?" he says again and again?
Indeed, on a set which consists mainly of filing cabinets, this play questions the authenticity of the memories filed within. The truth is not really the focus of this experimental show.
Director Julia Katz does an excellent job of guiding the ensemble through the many possibly true sides of this story.