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On The Concept of Time: My Machine is Powered by Clocks….

July 24, 2013
My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

Ok, imagine you have built a time machine and you can time-travel, only every now and then there is a slight mechanical malfunction. This is the premise for My Machine is Powered by Clocks, a Sightline production and part of the New Ohio Theater’s 2013 Ice Factory Festival.

The stage is a large open space; chairs are placed seemingly arbitrarily with white lab coats draped across there back. In the corner, a person sits behind a computer, she is stone-faced, just watching the crowd as they enter.

There is starkness to Grace Laubacher’s set design, a truth almost, everything is in the open and nothing is hidden. The 70 minute piece is a story in a story, actual four stories told in bits and snippets that force you to pay attention. Playwright B. Walker Sampson and director Calla Videt have artfully woven the stories together in a visual tapestry.

My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

Preview My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

There is the tale of Haley (as in the comet…) who invented time-travel, Jane is in a bad relationship with Jeremy, Frank, the bartender that is serving his slightly inebriated future-self in a bar, and Audrey who is having a heart to heart via Skype with her brother Jeremy (as in Jane and Jeremy…) while he is riding on a bus.

Time is altered, changed and viewed from different angles with different lenses. Jane is hoping through time like a fourth grader playing hop-scotch at recess, trying to alter events that led to her meeting Jeremy, thus preventing the bad relationship from every happening….but it’s all to no avail…

Audrey is a little self-righteous in the conversation with her brother, the same Jeremy who is in the relationship with Jane. Jeremy is riding the bus on the road of life, complete with bumpy seats and surrounded by oblivious straphangers. Audrey proceeds to replay his childhood via photos and video all the events that colored his life’s choices. Audrey seemed to be pointing out Jeremy flaws but never looking at her own.

Haley, oh Haley, is the absentminded professor, the inventor of time-travel, but who has not quite worked out all the kinks. She seems to find herself here and there through time, like at the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots. She becomes so much of a spectator that she loses her place in time and is unsure of where she actually belongs.

Frank, who’s a bartender, relates his tale by the old joke, “A guy walks into a bar…” He and his future self also hop-scotch through time till Frank actually meets his alternate-female-self Francine which results in a baby which is actually the future Frank that he first served in the bar. I think……….

My Machine is Powered by Clocks is a fast-paced dramedy. Great visuals and excellent staging….a work worth seeing…………There are still a few time-travel related issues that weren’t resolved….but with this production Sightline has proven that they have a voice with plenty to say….

My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

My Machine is Powered by Clocks. Photo by Lauren Rayne

My Machine Is Powered by Clocks

The 2013 Ice Factory at the New Ohio Theatre

Produced by Sightline

Written by B. Walker Sampson

Directed by Calla Videt

Choreography by Rick and Jeff Kuperman

With:

Merrie Jane Brackin, Isabel Carey, Melanie Comeau, Rick Kuperman, Jeff Kuperman, Tatiana Pavela, & Avery Pearson

Lighting Design: Mary Ellen Stebbins & Jon Cottle | Video Design: Victoria Crutchfield | Set Design: Grace Laubacher |  Graphic Design: Jaki Bradley | Stage Management: Sofie Seymour | Dramaturgy: Megan O’Keefe | Assistant Direction: Teis Jorgenson, Lily Glimcher, & Matt Stone.

Producers: Natalie Gershstein, Lauren Rayner, Calla Videt

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