[Box], at Mary-Arrchie Theatre. In the middle of the stage sits a large crate, one side patched with translucent and transparent panels. Inside is a gloomy lover, Box, who passes the time reminiscing about the girl who jilted him. (The spurned suitor is apparently male, though the role is played by a woman.) Outside Box’s prison a woman named Alpha and a man named Zeta exchange enigmatic remarks (“Where am I?” “You’re here” “I’m there”), act out nonlinear scenarios that may be connected to Box’s memories, and struggle with the many cardboard boxes littering the stage. The one exception to the action is a short episode in which Box clamors to be released. Eventually Alpha and Zeta make the discovery that–gasp!–they too are trapped in a box.

[Box] is less a play than an internal monologue with dramatic illustrations. This is perhaps understandable–playwright Lance E. Adams’s previous writing appears to have been restricted to poetry and fiction, reflective genres that encourage subjective narratives. But a play requires a story, and a performance requires comprehension of that story. And though these actors, directed by Alexandra Main, dutifully squabble, sigh, chase, and embrace on command, their efforts are not enough to give shape and a sense of progression to this 40-minute package of nebulous wordplay.

–Mary Shen Barnidge