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Montpellier, France
Writer, actor, artist, teacher, exploring the world and its levels in fiction, poetry, memoir, photography, fine arts.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

MAP Theater's "Trevor"

Jesse Calixto, Michael D. Blum, Zenaida Smith,
Terri J. Lazzara, Danielle Daggerty...
Not shown: Brandon Ryan
Photo credit: Brett Love

MAP is back! Nick Jones’ “Trevor,” directed by Julie Beckman, spins real events involving a celebrity chimpanzee named Travis into a fierce and phantasmagorical fable about human miscommunication, self-delusion and isolation.

Brandon Ryan (Trevor, the chimp) pulls off another amazingly full-throttle characterization as the aging chimpanzee (who better than Ryan for such a role?) whose best years in show biz are behind him. The increasingly manic attachment of Trevor’s owner Sandra (Teri J. Lazzara) to her “child” mirrors the protectiveness of her neighbor, the young mother Ashley (Zenaida Smith) and sets up the basic plot conflict as Sandra’s need for companionship blinds her to the unsustainability of the relationship (sound familiar, anyone?)

Michael D. Blum brings depth and compassion to his role as the stolid local cop uncomfortably trapped by his duty. The remaining cast (Danielle Daggerty and Jesse Calixto) do fine work as the animal protection officer and Trevor’s imagined friend Oliver, a former chimp star like himself whose career has taken a dive. The strong cast delivers energy enough to carry the somewhat over-burdened script swiftly to its climax.

“Trevor” is madcap and touching, and in true MAP fashion, mixes weirdness and hijinks with revelatory glimpses into that weirdest of all creatures: homo sapiens.

Despite occasional repetitiveness, the script rewards with food for thought about the delusional worlds we inhabit, interpreting events and other people through our personal languages and filters, never fully knowing what we truly are or why our lives unfold as they do.

MAP reliably delivers entertaining, thoughtful work, and its commitment to making theater accessible to everyone through its "choose your own price" ticketing model is an admirable commitment more companies in town should emulate.

The venue is small, so I suggest buying tickets in advance, through Brown Paper Tickets (select your own price range, and MAP waives service fees!) MAP isn't on stage that often, so catch this while you can.

Trevor, by Nick Jones

Directed by Julie Beckman

18th & Union, an Arts Space on Capitol Hill
Now through March 30

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