The Effect – Unicorn Theatre – 9.23.18 3pm – 45th season opener

This play was beautifully acted and created. A question is raised and left to the audience to answer- what is chemical and what is pure biology in our relationships and emotions.

The play takes place during a lengthy anti- depression drug trial with two test subjects and two doctors, both paired up with their respective sets of romantic entanglements and emotional concerns. Connie Hall (Amy O’Connor) and Tristan Frey (Rufus Burns) navigate a sticky minefield, questioning the entire time what is really love and what is a side effect as they become romantically involved. Dr. Lorna James (Manon Halliburton) has her own fight with depression and entanglement with Dr. Tobey Sealey (Todd Lanker). During the work we see pain, depression, love – and question what is forced from our brains and what is created from chemicals, or if they cannot be separated at all. It is a straightforward work that would allow students of Psychiatry and Psychology an interesting discussion point.

With a simple but amazingly versitle set and properties (Emily Swenson, Eric Palmquist) the heart of the design was lighting (Nicole Jaja) that relayed location, projected text and the forward and backward passage of time. Cues and projections (Alex Davila) had to be perfect so the audience wasn’t lost, and the stage manager (Tanya Brown) ran a flawless technical show. On a side note, if any stage managers are new to the game and want to learn, take advantage of every ‘sneak peek’ at rehearsal you can to see Tanya Brown during the rehearsal process.

A solid opener to the Unicorn’s newest season, I look forward to the rest of the season.

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