City Paper is not for tourists
Playing at: Logan Fringe Art Space: Upstairs
Remaining performances: July 12 at 8:30 p.m., July 15 at 10:15 p.m., July 16 at 12:30 p.m., July 17 at 7:45 p.m., July 23 at 7:45 p.m. Tickets can be found here
They say: Amelia Earhart is alive and well and living on Neptune! After her plane crashes in outer space, Amelia must team up with some of history’s greatest heroes to uncover an evil alien conspiracy. Based on a true story.
Robin’s Take: I started to understand what I was about to get myself into for Amelia Earhart in Space when I was told repeatedly that there is a “splash zone” at the seats to the left side of the stage. Then I looked at a disclaimer in the program warning audience members that fake blood eventually does wash out of clothes.
As you might expect from a play with a splash zone—and its ludicrous title—Amelia Earhart In Space is as every bit ridiculous as promised. The story shows the pilot’s abduction to Neptune by the planet’s ruler, Princess Elegencia, who hopes Earhart will join her ranks to help keep the planet’s indigenous Jub-Jub population away from rebellion.
Earhart, played by Aria Velz, does make some clever observations about modern day life, leading audience members to either burst into laughter or shake their heads when the actors point out a sad reality of modern life. When Earhart’s character returns to present day Earth and learns of our African-American president, she comments on the apparent lack of racism in America—followed by grimaces and downward glances from other cast members and the audience.
The only African-American cast member, played by Khalonji Bulluck, pauses the scene in the middle of the performance to complain about being the “token minority.” Then the cast discusses which character should die first instead of him, as they need him to stay in the play for the minority representation.
While the play is not exactly a, uh, true story, the playwright John Nicholas Walsh makes fun of the way history remembers the Earhart tale. Earhart has all the glory in the play and mentions that her flying mate, Fred, is not relevant to the story in a way to poke fun at him not being remembered in real life.
The cast members themselves reveal that Elegencia’s oppression of the Jub-Jub population can be reflective of the United State’s history of colonization, as the leaders moved into their land and interrupted the Jub-Jub way of life.
With only seven cast members, many of the characters double or triple up on roles, sometimes using the shared roles as a form of humor. When one of Earhart’s favorite Jub Jubs, Timmy, (spoiler alert!) dies, actor David Koenigsburg then acts as another Jub-Jub wearing the same exact fake-bloodstained costume and holding a “Not Timmy” sign to signal his character change.
While the show is over-the-top 90 percent of the time, I found myself laughing at the dumb humor and culturally relevant statements for most of it. And the rest of the audience did too, so you don’t have to be in the splash zone seating to enjoy this play.
See it if: you like over-the-top action comedies.
Skip it if: you don’t appreciate dumb humor.