Jesse Gervais, David MacInnes and Trevor Schmidt in i google myself
I GOOGLE MYSELF
Theatre: Northern Light
Directed by: Tammy Isaacson
Starring: Trevor Schmidt, Jesse Gervais, David MacInnis
Where: Varscona Theatre, 10329 83rd Ave.
Running: Tonight through Feb. 21
Tickets: 780-471-1586 or Tix on the Square (780-420-1757)
Ego-surfing. We’ve all cruised the Internet looking for our name, possibly out of narcissism or plain curiosity.
But in the dark comedic thriller I Google Myself playing at the Varscona Theatre until Feb. 21, there’s more at stake than a quick name search.
Playwright Jason Schafer capitalizes on the pitfalls of computers — how they connect us to portals in distant worlds including fame, yet isolate and hamper us when dealing with real-life relationships.
Staged by Northern Light Theatre (NLT), this 80-minute production explores how the Internet allows people to pretend they are someone else, and just as often are disappointed when others do not live up to their expectations.
Central to this story is a lonely Home Depot employee whose marriage just crashed. He’s developed a lusty crush on a gay porn star with the same name, and in a ruse poses as a journalist looking for an interview.
In their first scene together, the delightfully flamboyant NLT artistic director Trevor Schmidt as #1 (the name is never mentioned) sets a comical tone as the sweaty-palmed, obsessed stalker speaking in a singsong voice.
And Jesse Gervais, as #2 the hottie porn star hungry for publicity, is delightfully vain and proud. With the simple arch of a brow and spread of his legs, he reinforces his own über confidence.
Although physically open, the porn star is emotionally closed. In a moment of uncomfortable disclosure, he confesses to appropriating the name from a bully who used to beat him up in school.
With creepy intensity #1 then insinuates himself in the life of #3, a stoner auto mechanic (David MacInnis) who has anger management issues and writes a lacklustre blog posting poetry and recipes.
Brought together by the Internet with nothing in common but a craving for fame, this weird ménage-a-trois creates a chain of events and violent plot twists displaying power, revenge and cruelty.
All three share the same name and play mind games with one another suggesting a dark tone throughout. Yet their absurd situations and Schafer’s witty dialogue provide fodder for a steady stream of raunchy jokes and pratfalls.
This is a meaty script played on many levels. Director Tammy Isaacson keeps the pace clicking quickly, and never loses sight of the tensions between the remote, yet invasive Google medium and the more touchy-feely face-to-face interactions.
Special kudos for the clever set, a wall-size open Mac Book complete with a keyboard painted on the floor. The laptop’s massive size alone symbolically suggests the towering presence of the Web in their lives. On a more practical level, the screen functions as a chat room and pops up fresh projections for each scene transition.
Between the nonstop round of laughs,I Google Myself says a great deal — a current piece of theatre worth seeing.