Review: Playful philosophy inside a 'Snowglobe'
Mother Nature is clearly on the side of the team that put together "Snowglobe," which opened at the Shubin Theatre on Bainbridge Street the other night, in the middle of the polar snap. "Snowglobe," which runs just under an hour, is all about a universe enclosed in never-ending snowstorms.
But if Mother N. was aligning with "Snowglobe," she was probably laughing about her involvement – the play tackles the idea of God and the elements in a clever and challenging way. However you look at it, nature doesn't come off that well.
The new play by locally-based playwright Nicholas Wardigo is a curious and amusing give-and-take between two female figurines inside one of those water-filled snow-globes you shake to create a momentary squall. That, in itself, is a challenging set-up, confined as it is, but Wardigo is up to it. He enlivens his two figurines with a playful dialogue that exploits their entrapment and makes us consider our position in our own snow-globe, a massively wider world.
These gals are also smart, discussing their world as if it's the only one – which it is, to them – and isn't that really the way we mostly discuss ours? They conduct little experiments and make deductions, then argue over the way science's hard data conflicts with faith in their compact universe. What sort of God would leave them in a world with no male figurines and thus no future generation? What are the consequences of change – and what possible change can they effect inside that snow-globe?
Two of the city's much respected actors – Charlotte Northeast and Amanda Schoonover – are excellent as women who take opposite sides of the many arguments that keep them occupied. Each provides a flair to these characters; Wardigo gives them a stockpile of propositions, which they deliver in a funny fashion that's at times provocative, too.
It's a breezy piece, on a life-sized snow-globish set by Chris Madden and Rick Miller, with a little house and a large winter-stump of a tree – Wardigo's tip-of-the-hat to Samuel Beckett and his "Waiting for Godot," which also uses a tree and is built with back-and-forth musings on life's mundane qualities.
"Snowglobe" is presented by the MacKnight Foundation and the Shubin Theatre, and I hope the producers bring it back to the Fringe Festival. There, in a critical mass of off-beat productions, "Snowglobe" should attract a ready-made audience roaming the city for theatrical treats. For now, we can venture out into our own snow-globe in order to spend some time in this one.
"Snowglobe" runs through Feb. 9 at the Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge St. 347-644-7577 or macknight.yapsody.com.