ED, DOWNLOADED

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

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The Washington Ensemble Theatre started of the new year with a regional premiere of “Ed, Downloaded,” written by Michael Mitnick and directed by Ali el-Gasseir.

Sort of a mix between “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Vanilla Sky”, the play is described by WET as follows: “Set in a future where one can purchase immortality and spend an afterlife in a digital heaven of one’s favorite memories, this soon-to-be true story tackles classic themes of love and death in a world where technological advancements bring infinite possibilities.”

This “half-live action play and half-feature film” sounds very promising, but unfortunately, falls flat due to some very clichéd writing and some bad casting.

Ed, an average Joe type character, (played by Noah Benezra), is set to be married to Selene, (played by Gin Hammond), a take-charge computer scientist who has developed the technology that allows people to download their favorite memories and put them on a loop cycle so that that  they can quasi live forever.

But everything changes when Ed meets Ruby, (played by Adria LaMorticella), a street performer/marionette/whimsical free spirit who steals Ed’s heart and becomes the source of all of his happiest memories, much to Selene’s chagrin.

As I said, the problem with the show is two-fold: first of all, there is just no chemistry between the three actors: LaMorticella is just annoying as Ruby; Benezra is unengaging as Ed; and Hammond is too stiff as Selene (though to the women’s defense, the playwright didn’t give them much to work with); and that leads to my other critique  — the writing, which  tries to take itself seriously, but is ultimately superficial and mere fluff, with no real substance. In short, I was bored and didn’t really care about the characters or the unoriginal storyline.

To WET’s defense, however, I will congratulate them for their ambition. The play, as I said, is half-live and half-feature film, and I certainly appreciate the work that that they put into realizing the filmic portions of the show. The marriage between theatre and film is an exciting and challenging endeavor, and so on this, I congratulate WET; I just wish that their hard work and talents had been used on a better script.

“Ed, Downloaded” plays through February 24 at Washington Ensemble Theatre, 608 19th Ave. E. For tickets and info, call 206-325-5105 or visit http://www.washingtonensemble.org

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