"strong and enthusiastic cast...a lot of charm"
--Time Out Chicago
The critics on the world premiere of Ephemera
by Bryce Wissel
Directed by Laura Sturm
Designed by lewis lain
Presented March 22 - May 1, 2011
Polarity Ensemble Theatre
1500 N. Bell, Chicago, IL
"Polarity’s new sci-fi spoof sports a strong and enthusiastic cast...
"Bryce Wissel's comedy takes place on board the Ephemera, a purgatorial space station whose three-person crew no longer remember their mission. They're joined by a monkey who can talk, thanks to prolonged exposure to radiation and freeze-dried ice cream, and a lovelorn, Spanish-accented robot (played by Kaelan Strouse with about as much restraint as a telenovela villain)...Lewis Lain's cerulean cardboard set and props have a sophisticated playtime look, and Bob Wilson gives the ship's commander a hilarious, empty-headed certainty reminiscent of George W. Bush."
"Referencing everything from Buck Rogers to "2001" to Ray Bradbury and "Planet of the Apes," this sci-fi space odyssey from writer Bryce Wissel for Polarity Ensemble has plenty of high aims... Kim Boler is terrific as the lone female crew member, a no-B.S. type who becomes an all-purpose object of fantasy for the men, and Bob Wilson's commander is a daffy take-off on William Shatner ... the entire design team has outdone themselves..."
"You have to hand it to Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s latest production, a daffy space opera called Ephemera. It wings its charming way through its almost stream-of-consciousness universe... Davy (played with superb body language by Charley Jordan) was the original test monkey sent into space during NASA’s early exploration days. Perhaps–and only perhaps–decades of exposure to interstellar radiation have speeded his evolution to the point where he can hold affable conversation, jovially drink down the station’s alcohol and hit on Colonel Kate McBride (Kim Boler). True to sci-fi/action thriller formula, Kate’s the only female on board–so, of course, Davy’s not Kate’s only suitor. Manuel (Kaelan Strouse), an android who was probably weaned on Telemundo programming, exerts all his exuberant Latin charm to woo her–not to mention showboat the audience... Commander William B. Travis (played with absurdist brilliance by Bob Wilson) and...the comedy’s non-linear story structure, replete with dropped-in asides from the characters, instills repetitive and nonsensical time loops in the action. Wissel’s comedy matches the flukiness of Douglas Adams’ or even Tom Robbins’ novels... Sturm’s cast is spot-on in pace, timing and delivery—a factor made all the more exacting by the production’s technical elements. Plus, artist lewis lains’ set design and further art installations create a great space for the cast’s gentle and gracious finale that brings the show home clean, clear and truthful."