Black and white you can respond; gray people kill you
There’s no room for the gray people
Wikipedia defines black and white thinking as an “individual [who] tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground). Sound familiar? Basically, there is no in-between you’re either this or that. Pick a side and stick with it. However, in playwright Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm’s work, there is no in-between. Well, actually there is but there’s also a middle group, a gray area. Being in that zone makes one think out the box instead of being cramped into one. It is the survival of the fittest as three strangers Jenny (Olivia Lemmon), Adam (Kyle Felts) and James (Walter Kartman) come together deep into the dark woods waiting for a cargo of dead mob victims delivered by the never seen, but often talked about Mr. Zee.
This isn’t James or Kyle’s first time at the rodeo, Jenny, maybe an amateur but she exudes a cool stride as if she’s done it before. She tries to connect with one of the guys, probably to gain an ally if anything were to go wrong. James appears to be the one she connects with. He’s a nervous, guy with a lot of jitters. He would be scared of his own shadow. Adam, doesn’t’ take nonsense from anybody especially from someone he doesn’t know or trust.
James breaks the ice by suggesting to play a few games. Jenny is all in and Adam pretty much gives them the middle finger, but, eventually gives in. They are waiting for Zee to come by and Lord knows when that will take. Soon, suspicion strikes the grave diggers. Adam whole-heartedly believes that Jenny is a mole for the mob. She ignores him by digging a hole. James begins to divulge private information about himself. Adam keeps telling him to keep quiet. He doesn’t want to know anything about anybody. Identities should be kept secret, Adam insists. The other two reluctantly oblige at the moment.
Playwright Kazmierowicztrimm does an excellent job in capturing the depravity of the human soul manipulatively well. You have three strangers together, deep in the woods awaiting to bury victims who chose to deal with the mob and got killed for it, in the middle of the night. Imagine, hearts pounding, your nerves shocked and your mind goes to places you never knew existed. Of course, everyone will become a little insane and worried and question why they hell are they doing this? That is where money comes in. A lot of coins have to be made in order to go through this living hell voluntarily. Felts is a marvel with his overpowering and brutish personality. He can more or less control James but Jenny becomes more of an adversary.
Lemmon, as the only shot of female testosterone, doesn’t take any attitude from anyone. She makes that clear to Adam by standing in his way, eyeing him closely almost daring him to do something. Loved watching Walter Kartman as the nervous James. The poor guy is so overwrought with what’s going on he tries to stay calm, not only for his sanity but to diffuse the negative energy between Jenny and Adam.
However, it’s Jenny who has the last word. Her disclosure to some pertinent information, changes the dynamic among the three. Lemmon relishes how she overpowers the men with this particular knowledge. Adam constantly degrades her by referring to Jenny as girl. Well, this girl has some surprises for him that no one saw coming. Director Sebastian Muñoz executes the playwright’s vision beautifully. All three characters emit a plethora of sentiments constructing a tender platform. Kazmierowicztrimm and Muñoz make a great combination in executing a story based on intensity and the outcome from it.
Gray People plays Thursday the 15th and Friday the 16th at 8:30 p.m. at the Belfry Stage (Upstairs) located on 11031 Camarillo Street in North Hollywood. For ticket information, log-on to www.fonprods.tix.com or www.fonproductions.com/gray or call (818) 934-1366.