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BWW Review: Raising the curtain with NUSPACE at Cue Zero Theatre Company

BWW Review: Raising the curtain with NUSPACE at Cue Zero Theatre Company

The worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions. You either die a hero or you live long enough to become a villain. These are just a few thoughts that come to mind after watching NuSpace, by Marjorie Boyer. Premiering with the Cue Zero Theatre Company, based in Manchester, NuSpace tackles future problems with modern complications. When the company, NuSpace, was created by Malcolm- played by Alex Brown- to create a program strong enough to delete information from the internet completely, he bailed out and hired an incredibly intelligent, convicted hacker named Vic- played by Tom Lott- to write the code. The trio, completed by Taylor Cloutier's, Claire, set out to fix the world's most pressing problem: The Internet is running out of space. The server's that run the Internet are getting full and no one can build anymore, so NuSpace decides to save the day by deleting old social media, email archives, and other information of the deceased. Despite running in near anonymity, they catch the attention of the two people who care most about this global problem: two Presidential Candidates, quirkily played by Tim Mitchell and Katelyn Tustin. When laws get broken and friendships get strained, it's hard to see just how far the rabbit hole goes.

A relatively small company, Cue Zero had the daunting task of bringing together technology and art in an unconventional space. This, however, didn't seem to pose any issue, as the intimacy of the performance space made the tiny office space in which all of the drama takes place even more claustrophobic. Given the one set, they took great detail in making it feel like an office, complete with legal notices on the wall, overflowing stacks of paper, and desks crammed with technology and empty coffee cups. The only other elephant in the room was the projector screen. Used mostly during scene changes, the collection of news reports and graphics of websites being deleted- cleverly designed by Boyer herself- provided the audience with key insights into the world outside of the office and showed snippets of certain characters' digital trails being deleted, supposedly erasing any evidence of crime.

Finally, no cautionary tale of capitalist greed and morally gray tolerance would be complete without the actors who bring the characters to life. The two performances that really stood out were those of Lott and Mitchell, for their portrayals of Vic and Senator August, respectively. Mitchell's smarmy, uncomfortable, and yet commanding presence just oozed the charisma of a presidential candidate whenever he was on stage. He walked with purpose, shook hands with vigor, threatened with subtlety, and flirted with confidence that was consistent and calculated from beginning to end. However, light cannot live without dark, and Lott's intelligent, code-savvy, and overworked Vic provides an excellent foil- with the competing wardrobes to match. Wanting to redeem himself and yet attempting to remain loyalty to the man who changed his life created an intense balancing act that only grew more and more unstable as Vic became more overworked and less confident that he was doing the right thing. His volatility and consistent inconsistency led to many thrilling, and sometimes upsetting, moments of intense awkwardness, tension, and the foreboding sense of a powder keg that is about to go off. A difficult role that was well portrayed.

Overall, NuSpace a spectacular production. Boyer's research into technology, coding, and their abuses rang out in the dialogue, the cast and crew's countless hours of collaboration shone through the performance and created an air of unity, and Dan Pelletier's smart direction and unification of ideas and themes brought clarity to a sometimes technologically dense dialogue and complicated series of events. A lot happened in a short amount of time, and Cue Zero definitely made sure the audience followed every second of it.

NuSpace runs from March 1st-3rd at the Kreiva Academy, 470 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. Shows start at 7:30pm, tickets are $15. Feel free to check them out on Facebook or email them at cztheatre@gmail.com.


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From This Author Jared Reynolds