Pictured: Paige Louter and Éanna O’Dowd. Photograph by Jalen Laine.
I can safely say The Human Ear by Alexandra Wood is the most minimalist- and perhaps experimental play I watched so far. There is no set or props. Just two actors on a stage. It could have been confusing or dull at times, but direction by Jessica Aquila Cymerman and the actors Paige Louter and Éanna O’Dowd kill it with their performances approaching this strange but interesting play.
The plot itself is actually very simple, and the twist is that.. there is no twist. No fake deaths, no secret twin, it is just as it is. The story unfolds with the present situation with Jason (Éanna O’Dowd), Lucy’s (Paige Louter) brother coming back home after ten years, soon after their mother’s untimely death. Very early into the play, it is clear to the audience that O’Dowd is playing multiple characters and both actors are in different time periods at once. O’Dowd’s ability to transform into different characters was impressive and Louter did a great job as well portraying the desperate and lonely Lucy in different time periods. On top of the acting, the lighting designed by Phil Miguel indicates this as well. The white, standard light is the present, orange for Jason and Green for Ed, the police officer. There were other neat lighting design like the slowly spreading crack on the ground and literal fragments (like the fragments of memories and flashbacks) appearing and flickering as the lies are exposed in the last scene.
Overall The Human Ear is a refreshing and new play about family and what it means to us. Definitely worth the trip down to the beautiful Pacific Theatre!