A Show of a Show- Theater Review: The Flick


Carnegie Theater Company

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Carnegie Theatre Company: The Flick by Annie Baker, a Pulitzer-prize winning play. The play closed as of September 28, 2019. 1501 Taft St, Houston, TX 77019

Teenagers in this day and age normally wouldn’t have the attention span to find a play about young adults who don’t know what to do with their lives (AKA every millennial ever), but on September 29, The Flick managed to do just that, mixing in just the right amount of relatability and humor.

The Flick by Annie Baker is filled with conversations, little games, and jokes that all take place with three characters working at a movie theater. The play is not plot-driven as it focuses on the character’s personality and how they want to develop relationships with each other, even if they don’t fully show who they are. With all types of new improved technology, The Flick expresses how people might have forgotten how to communicate effectively. First released in March of 2013, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play does an amazing job of keeping the audience entertained.

 The Flick explores the idea of a world where technology is constantly improving, in this case, from film to digital screening. The play shows when people are attached to technology, they lose or forget how to communicate effectively. The character Avery fiercely advocates for the use of film reels in a letter, “Digital movies- these dots and variations cannot express the variations in color and texture that film can. All the dots are exactly the same size and the same distance apart.”  In the same way, as our technology, such as social media evolves, the image we portray to others becomes increasingly removed from our true selves. In another sense, we portray only a photocopy of everyone else. During the play, the three characters question themselves whether they truly know each other, despite the fact that they work together day in and out . 

The play is not plot-driven, it focuses on the characters more than a storyline. With this play, we get to see how the characters develop socially and mentally. If you were to go to an actual movie theater and observe the employees, you would probably notice that it’s not the most exciting job. Think about it, if you were working at a theater and made almost nothing, you would probably find a way to entertain yourself and kill time, and that’s how the characters are revealed to the audience. 

The Flick manages to do just that, having the characters have many little conversations and jokes to keep life not being useless. The Flick gives the feeling of loneliness, you want the characters to have more interesting personalities. The actors did a good job with the tone, they were always speaking clearly, using articulation. Body gestures played a big part in making the characters believable. CVHS sophomore Daiji Bertrand, who plays the high-achieving, paralyzed and emotionally repressed college student Avery showed many gestures while playing his character, such as shaking his hand a lot and holding his arm. He shows that his character is shy, depressed, not confident. Senior Trey Pokorny artfully plays the older 30-something, guileless character, stuck in a dead-end job. Beneath the blank stares of Pokorny’s character, there was an undercurrent of torment that you know will never be released. Senior Tatiana Robledo plays the movie theater’s manager- a free-flung, nymphomaniac. As Robledo’s uninhibited dance scene shames and cowers Bertrand’s repressive character into the smallest corner of the room, one can’t help but feel the unattainable distance the characters have to understand one another.

Another reason the play did so well was that the audience seating was the stage, which made the stage the seating for the audience. This was uniquely crafted since the play takes place inside a movie theater. I was hoping for a little more than just sweeping and cleaning the theater, but space was small and there were limits with the stage. I did enjoy the scenery, they put trash on the floor and the seats had spilled drinks and more. Perhaps it is only in this tiny theater, where drastically different characters are forced together, to clean a room that never really gets cleaned, that there is a chance at human connection.