This was my first experience with these stories and watching them in chronological order over a span of eight hours was thrilling. I'm sure seeing them out of sequence on different nights can be just as rewarding. Audience members witness the plot points unfold, referencing what came before and what's yet to come, putting the puzzle pieces of the gripping story together bit by tantalizing bit.
The end of the run approaches and enthusiastic reviews have led to sold out performances, but some seats are still available as of this writing for a few of the shows, so do yourselves a favor and catch this while you can. Who knows when you'll have a similar opportunity to be a part of such a theatrical tour de force?
I must heap praise on Mac Rogers for the imaginative, nuanced, and emotionally charged story. Like all good science fiction, his trilogy is loaded with exhilarating speculations about the future and keen allegories for our own time. Every single character is fleshed out and unforgettable.
The cast is superb and I wish I had the skill to give everyone the proper shout out they deserve, since each one has brought Mac's characters to life completely. Although these are plays with specific protagonists and antagonists, no role is wasted as an afterthought, but rather each part is vital to the progression of the story, and each is memorable.
I must also applaud the talented crew for the lighting, sound, and set. The quick transitions from one play to the next during the marathon are beyond impressive. The costumes, the fight choreography, the props -- it's all superb.
Advance Man, the first play, is set in a recognizable time, with a family going through the usual everyday minutia of work and school and shopping, while facing familiar tribulations and suburban First World Problems. Kristen Vaughan is strong and sympathetic as Amelia, who suspects her husband, former astronaut Bill Cook, performed by Sean Williams, might be having an affair. She goes so far as to hire a private investigator, played with solid intensity by Ana Maria Jomolca. The mystery of what Bill and his fellow returned astronauts are doing is an intriguing one that builds up right to the climactic final scene.
The heart of the story in all three plays is the relationship between Bill's children, the soulful Abbie, portrayed by David Rosenblatt and later Stephen Heskett, and the spitfire Ronnie, played to perfection by both Becky Byers and later Hanna Cheek. The surviving crew who went to Mars and back with Bill, (Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy as Valerie, Rebecca Comtois as Belinda, and especially Carlos Martin as Raf) carry the weight of the world (or many worlds) on their shoulders, while trying to maintain the facade that all is normal. Amid all the suspense and drama, Mac Rogers sprinkles in plenty of humor as well to balance it all out, as epitomized by Brian Silliman's Kip, the business man who puts up the money for the astronaut's enterprise -- but to call Kip merely comic relief would be a disservice. As I mentioned, every character is essential with their own moments to shine.
It would be a crime to reveal any of the plot twists and revelations in further detail. Go watch it unspoiled and enjoy the story as it was meant to be experienced, live before your eyes. The Honeycomb Trilogy is playing at the amazing Gym at Judson in Greenwich Village through November 14.