BWW Review: CAUGHT at Intiman Theatre Will Catch You Off Guard
CAUGHT presented by Intiman Theatre will catch you off guard and make swiss cheese of all your theories of what is art and what is theater. Christopher Chen's play combines visual art and theater into a playground of ideas. What is truth, your perception, and intention are all challenged with thought-provoking dialogue and action. Just when you think you have grasped the essence of the piece, it shifts direction and reveals a twist, another level, and leaves you once again wondering what is real.
The show contains a play within the play, and actors portraying actors. The central story focuses on the character of Lin Bo (Justin Huertas) who has shared the story of his experience as an artist in China and in prison. As layers are peeled back we learn that all truth is not black and white and the approach to intention and storytelling varies from culture to culture. The actors lead the audience on a journey of theoretical exploration where every turn presents a question, a challenge, and a bit of humor. It is impossible to discuss more of the storyline without giving away the surprises that are best experienced rather than read.
Justin Huertas as Lin Bo is simply everything. He is commanding, sympathetic, brimming with passion and hurt, and yet completely approachable. Jonelle Jordan as Joyce and the Curator is the embodiment of the emotional roller coaster the audience experiences. Frustrated, yet caring, she walks the path seeking understanding but only finding more questions. Bradford Farwell as Bob shows the audience the perils of persisting in your own world-view as the only legitimate view. His physical interactions with the visual art were in many ways cathartic for not only his character but also the audience. Finally Narea Kang as Wang Min is a powerhouse. Her comedic timing with both Jordan and Huertas was perfection. Her delivery of theoretical explorations of art and truth and perception were like that of a Sensei speaking to a wide-eyed youth dressed in a new gi, hopeful for illumination.
Director Desdemona Chiang sets the story in motion that masterfully uses the space and light to reinforce the exploration that is happening on a theoretical level. The work of Lighting Designer Reed Nakayama and Set Designer Lex Marcos add yet another level to the story. The avant garde production is not your usual night at the theater, but that is the point entirely, except that maybe it's not. Come ready to leave your accepted notions behind. Come ready to explore, question, and think. But above all, just come. This is a show and experience you won't want to miss.