It feels a little odd walking out of the May weather and into the macabre
Halloween-season atmosphere of Exit 63 Productions’ debut show. But why
should the sinister be confined to a single time of year? That’s certainly
not the way things work in real life.
Steve Yockey’s 2012 Very Still and Hard to See is a cycle of short plays
dealing with the uncanny. In the first vignette, a big-time architect named
Buck Mason (Scott Olson) falls into a sinkhole near his latest commission,
a hotel on which construction has just begun. At the bottom of the hole he
finds a creature (Chelsea Turner) who gives him a satanic laugh and demands
that he move the hotel’s footprint, apparently to render it more
demon-accessible. In return, she promises to fulfill his deepest, darkest,
most perverse wish. Since the alternative is immediate death, he agrees.
The next few episodes chronicle various malign doings in the now-haunted
hotel, followed by a reckoning for Buck.
Yockey missed an opportunity, I’d say, by using Buck as a bookend rather than a
subject. There’s a fascinating play in the notion of a man forced to accept
the secret desire he would and should most like to repress. As things
stand, the show is more atmospheric than interesting—a sexy, occasionally
comic Night Gallery-esque anthology, well directed by Connor Baty and
nicely performed by a cast of eight. The most engaging passage has the
least to do with anything: a monologue featuring Manuela Rentea as a
charming lady who really, really hates her husband. v