Whim Productions, an area voice for LGBT-theme productions continues its 2019 season with “Swimming in the Shallows” a surrealistic comedy that looks at relationships among six friends and reflects how personal growth and experience change over time.
The play looks at a lesbian couple and the conflicts they face when deciding upon a formal marriage. Their relationship focuses on the present and the path they choose. The second couple, a long-married straight couple, sees that their lives led to complexities and surplus baggage. The third couple focuses on unconventional love between a man and a shark.
The play by Adam Bock and directed by Kevin King, presents the idea that people, emotions, and reality change over time and those variables evolve for successful relationships.
Barb, after learning that Buddists only possess eight items, wants to de-clutter her life and house. She busies herself eliminating clutter in her house. She wants to give away and scale down to eight items, but also remembers that she recently purchased 48 more items at a Tupperware party. While she wants to downsize, her husband keeps replenishing as room allows. Their relationship has changed as physical items replaced communication and evolving together.
Carla Carla and Donna take the audience to the young love stage as the two contemplate marriage. Donna wants to marry Carla Carla, but Carla Carla’s second thoughts create a quandary. While Donna attempts to quit smoking yet hides behind failed schemes, Carla Carla discovers the truth. So, in this case, the importance of accepting a person with faults comes into play.
For the surrealistic relationship. Nick falls in love with a shark in an aquarium. How can that be? Well, actually normal in this play. You see, the shark, before becoming a shark informs Nick that he formerly sold Avon’s Skin-So-Soft door to door.
Absurd comedy works well when the actors deliver strong characters to carry the story and the humor. And the main character in each relationship needs to dominate their pairings. That ploy makes the alternate a sympathetic character. In this case, all works well.
King’s directing allows the three relationships to develop and play to the comedy of each situation. For this to work, Karla M. Fennick, Nicole Hall, and Jacque Davidson possess a strong stage presence in all of their scenes. Their comedic timing, expressions, and subtle movements create believeable characters and offer their partners opportunities to spar with each particular situation.
Other actors in the play also have well-written characters that show growth as the play develops. Playwright Adam Bock crafted six solid characters for “Swimming in the Shallows.” Because the play runs just under 90 minutes, Bock’s dialogue needs to move the plot forward with each line. In that he succeeds as well.
The cast of “Swimming in the Shallows” is: Karla M. Fennick as Barb, Lauren Pope as Carla Carla, Jacque Davidson as Nick, Nicole Hall as Donna, Austin Taylor Smith as The Shark, Matt McCann as Bob.
The Production team is: Tony Beasley, stage manager; Jordan Malone, scenic designer; Micah Thompson, lighting design; Emily Swensen, projections designer; Luke Virgo Rowe, sound design; Diane Hightower, properties designer; Austin Taylor Smith, master carpenter.
“Swimming in the Shallows” opens Nov. 13 and runs through Nov. 23. For more information and tickets, see the Whim Productions website.
Tags: “Swimming in the Shallows” review, Whim Productions, The Black Box KC, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment