There is a line from Jean Renoir’s 1939 classic film The Rules of the Game which is often worth quoting: “The terrible thing in life is this: Everyone has their reasons.”
That piece of wisdom popped into my mind after I watched Jonathan Spector’s game. Eureka Day, on stage in an Asolo Rep production at the Cook Theater. Renoir uses the line in a very different context, but it seems to apply to situations in this comedy-drama, set at a progressive private school in (where else?) Berkeley, California, where there is a serious fight about childhood vaccinations after an outbreak. of beards occur.
Spector wrote the game well before the Covid-19 pandemic that shook our world and generated a lot of pro- and anti-vaccine discussions, but naturally the setup now feels “taken from headings. ” At first, putting those arguments in the mouths of oh -so “awake” school board members seemed too easy – picking the low -hanging fruit, let’s say. The people we meet Eureka Day it is very clear that everyone is trying so hard to do the right thing, it can be wrong.
Even before the show opened, we were thoroughly introduced to the atmosphere: the bright, cheerful colors of Riw Rakkulchon’s set design, the posters on the school walls meant to be included, the background songs which promotes friendship and diversity. Characters kneel back to be sensitive and aware, from director Don (Paul Slade Smith, perfect in the role), who reads Rumi before and after each board meeting, to white and privileged Suzanne (Anne Bowles), perhaps overly warm welcome to new board member, Black lesbian Carina (Jasmine Bracey) to tech multimillionaire stay-at-home dad Eli (Chris Amos) to more quiet, nervous Meiko (Celia Mei Rubin).
Despite their efforts, none of them were ready for what would happen if a student at school got tumors, and they began to find out more about the vaccine policy at all, as well as about each other. and themselves. Act I culminates in a hysterical scene that is very real, as an attempt at a Zoom-like meeting to allow everyone who weighs online to rise from benevolent to disruptive to utterly hostile. . Reading comments online all in real time (via Paul Deziel’s projection design) makes for a very familiar experience these days.
Act II became more serious, as the mumps situation worsened and we discovered some of the reasons I mentioned above: personal injuries and beliefs that could destroy a community or, at best, help. so that those who are in it may know one another. people.
Spector’s script, under the direction of Bianca Laverne Jones, can sometimes be a little pat or over-reaching, but overall it’s true, with the cast, especially Bowles and Bracey, adept at making their characters more than the stereotypes we started with. Just as chaotic as any recent Sarasota County school board meeting, but more fun and enlightening, Eureka Day is timely and trenchant. This continues until June 4; for tickets, call (941) 351-8000 or visit asolorep.org.