Based on the 1961 novel by Stanisław Lem, which spawned two films, Solaris, the play by David Greig, makes its North American premiere in a Griffin Theatre production under Scott Weinstein’s direction. A riveting sci-fi mystery thriller, it opens with a scientist visiting a space station that orbits the ocean planet of Solaris. A crew member is dead and the remaining two scientists are hiding secrets as to the unexplained activities occurring onboard. Full of delightfully manic oceanic peaks and long esoteric stretches of calm, the play delves into the seduction of the past and explores duality and memory. How do we process being essentially alone in the universe, traversing loneliness and loss, all the while pursuing connection? Can we ever really truly know one another?
Through 3/27: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Raven Theater, 6157 N. Clark, 77-338-2177, griffintheatre.com,$40 (students, active military, and veterans $15).
Isa Arciniegas as Dr. Kelvin is wonderfully dynamic as the newly-arrived scientist, generating the gravitational pull around which the other characters revolve. Nicole Laurenzi’s Dr. Sartorius brings a needed grounded stoicism while bursting at the seams with honest emotion. T.J. Thomas’s Dr. Snow exudes a joviality nearly lost after two years of isolation, yet he still keeps things lit (including his cigarettes). John Drea as Ray and Larry Baldacci as Dr. Gibarian both give emotionally charged performances that keep the mystery and tension tingling. And Alexandrya Salazar as The Child (alternating in the role with Kajsa Allen)—is she a benevolent presence or creepy apparition? Shout-out to the production team for crafting a sparse yet multipurpose space station that adds to the anxious isolation and scenic variety.