By Steve Drum
“Where I come from” is the refrain throughout SCAD Performing Arts’ production of “Anon(ymous),” held in the Arnold Hall auditorium. And each bizarre step further into the world of this production feels like a backward glance at where we come from and how we’ve arrived.
Loosely adapted from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” the play sends its nameless hero (called “Anon” in the program) adrift on a strange journey through sweatshop labor, Indian cuisine and one terrifying butcher shop. The world is both contemporary and surreal, an imagined hybrid of a far-off third world and a post-apocalyptic America.
Directed by performing arts professor David Storck, the production’s visuals move beautifully between the odd and the intimate. A churning sea created by the actors’ bodies, a two-person goddess moving as a single creature and a starry sky twinkling from beneath the stage are just a few of the show’s dazzling feasts for the eyes.
The script, written by Naomi Iizuka for the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre in 2006, can be a little heavy-handed in its emotion. The metaphors of American imperialism and the preservation of immigrant culture are powerful enough to stand on their own. Too often, Iizuka’s script doesn’t seem to trust the audience to see the connections and saddles an actor with the task of explaining what should be left beneath the surface.
Some are more successful than others at bringing life to the weight of the text. Second-year Ian Mather plays Anon with a youth and optimism that seems to sidestep his character’s transformation. First-year Anne-Marie Trabolsi, on the other hand, brings a strange and surprising reality to Calista, an over-confident archetype of American privilege. The scene is brief, but Trabolsi takes Calista through a wild identity crisis, capturing the best of the play’s intentions in just a few moments on the stage.
As with their March showing of “Spring Awakening” at the Lucas Theatre, the Performing Arts Department has made another brave choice of text to perform for the stage.
“Anon(ymous)” is playing through May 5 at 8 p.m. and May 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 with valid senior, student, military or SCAD ID.
To reserve tickets, call the Savannah Box Office at 912-525-5050 or visit savannahboxoffice.comContact Steve Drum.