Denton — It’s a waiting room for some kind of hell, and in it six people stew in agonizing speculation as to why they’ve been cast here. Sundown Collaborative Theatre’s devised performance done/undone ruminates on the subject of action and consequence over the course of an engaging hour.
The silence is pierced by a cacophonous alarm. Enter six people fearfully screaming, questioning why they’ve been sent to this space. But, there’s an easy explanation. Each has committed some sort of heinous sin, which they proceed to share with each other.
First, Jeremy Rodriguez, the Graduate Student, shares his story while performing an impressive dance piece with Nicholas Ross, who also plays the Mechanic in his own story. The stories cover a myriad of topics, though usually pass closely by love. Sometimes it manifests in mistakenly killing a man thought to be the accidental killer of a brother, as in Ross’ story, and sometimes it’s loving someone so much the person must ingest them to fully consummate their relationship, as in Lauren Moore’s shocking piece.
Conceived by Tashina Richardson and Nicholas Ross, but created by the entire cast and crew technician Chloe McDowell, done/undone is all at once engaging and, yet, incomplete. The individual performances are excellent. They’re given titles that are somewhat arbitrary, considering that they’re never directly addressed by themselves or each other. Ross plays Mechanic, Richardson is Barista, Rodriguez is Graduate Student, Moore is Office Executive, Mary-Hannah McWilliams is Temp Worker, and David Ray is Unemployed.
Even with that guide, though, deciphering who is who isn’t always easy. Therein lies the one issue. Theater doesn’t necessarily have to answer all the questions. In fact, when done well it can be better when everything isn’t tied up in a neat little bow. However, there is no indication why these people are wherever they are. The set-up is just a vehicle for this desperate people to confess their sins.
The confessions are staged well. What could simply be a person standing in the middle of the space delivering a monologue often incorporates props, movement, dance, and cooperation from the other actors to show the story, rather than just telling it. But the plot device that brings them together is a not very good MacGuffin. There’s nothing really to it.
Of the performances, Moore jumps off the page most prominently. Whether delivering her own creepy story or participating in others, her presence is undeniable. Ross also has a natural delivery that draws the audience in to his own heart-wrenching piece. That said, the best part of the overall show is the cast. For devising and then performing all the pieces, this show is quite an accomplishment. The Metroplex could use more people like this.
Ultimately, like its title, the work is both done and undone. The meat of the performance—the actors’ sad tales—is engrossing. The performance as a whole, however, comes from nowhere and goes nowhere.
Maybe that’s the point. Will we know if we’re in purgatory?