To think, or not to think: that is the question. The answer to this is no.
Whether ’tis nobler in the Mafiosi to suffer the slings and spurts of outrageous ideas or to take claw hands against a sea of artifacts, and by exposing end them? The answer is yes.
If this doesn’t make any sense to you, go to the Off-Broadway Theater this weekend and it will all become (relatively) clear.
It is only through the intricate minds of the self-proclaimed “Team Genius” (Lane Rick ’07, Jon Hood ’07, Sara Holdren ’08 and Angel Hertslet ’08), writers of “(the invention of the) Wheel,” that this elaborate weaving of Mafiosi, cops, innocent bystanders, golf balls, one magic orb and a claw hand can be so haphazardly yet skillfully brought together to create the “melodramatic spectacle” that is this play.
It’s a war out there. Mafiosi and cops split their time between killing and dancing, and killing and singing, and killing and brainwashing, and killing and plotting, while everyone is ultimately brought together by the enchanted omniscient magic orb of insults.
“Wheel” violates the purpose of every single “meaningful” play ever written. The goal of the play is not to cause contemplation, but confusion coupled with lots of laughter. The production clashes with everything that anyone has ever come to expect. Because it is by no means conventional, it is therefore perfect for anyone seeking an extravagant exit from normalcy. As Hertslet, who also plays a police officer named Sting, put it, just about everything in this play is “like a ‘¿Porque no?’”
This almost two-hour-long adventure into an atypical world will convolute your mind to such a degree that you may want to grab a Sudoku or two just to force yourself back into a reality that, for the most part, is rational.
The scenery itself is misleading. The white background, white door, bright lights and chairs allude to a calmer, more sterile atmosphere than the one actually presented. The props are basic — tables, chairs, toy guns, stuffed animals, marshmallows, bagels and dollies — but these items are transformed in the play’s world and take on a variety of makeshift uses.
Each actor seems to mesh perfectly with his character’s identity. According to Hood, “because the script was still evolving as we began rehearsing, we were able to tailor the parts to the performances they gave us. In a lot of ways, the parts were literally made for these people. Also, the golf balls are exactly perfect forever without question for ourselves.”
Suggestions and ideas were taken and incorporated into the play during the production process, like the police dance scene and the creation of a Southern police state trooper. Additions like these are what may have helped perfect the “beer, tofu and arm claw” recipe that Hood said helped inspire the play’s plot this past summer. Everything that was out of place in this play fit into its own niche in its own special way.
While the play may be incredibly silly, the actors’ performances are solid. In every scene their abilities create the seriousness of an actual play while the script simultaneously seeks to break the structure down. It is this collision that scatters the pieces, yet brings them back together to add to the jittery effect.
If you’re a “Little Mermaid” fan, please watch this play. Trust me! On the other hand, if you are into the serious “lux et veritas” of everything, you’d be better off staying home and watching “The Hours.” Don’t waste your time trying to find a meaning. If you don’t try, you’ll survive.
For most Yalies, thinking has become automatic. But not thinking is an art mastered by just a few. This spectacle succeeds at being a ridiculous reinvention of the conventional play, if not the “Wheel.”
For once, let us not ponder the meaning of our lives and instead, let us just revel in a meaningless world of chaos and combat, of mafia and magic orbs. Let the lights go out. Let the chaos ensue. Let the “Wheel” spin. Let yourself be carried into a different world by conga lines and those murderous laser-carrying dolphins.
(the invention of the) Wheel
Fri. 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. & Sat. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.