BWW Review: CRYSTAL CREEK MOTEL at Flying V Theatre
When staying in a hotel I'll remind myself of all the people who have been there before me. I do the same thing while standing upon places such as a historical sites or stages and think of those of whom I am walking in the footsteps. Hotel rooms however have never seemed to fill me with the same wonder and pride in imagining the residents before me. The feeling I experience is discomfort accompanied by an uncertainty as to what these thousands of mystery individuals had done in the privacy of their hotel rooms.
This is the story of Flying V's Crystal Creek Motel, the audience gains an insider look as to those who pass through their hotel rooms before they do. Each vignette in the play is a month of the year and there are 12 vignettes to account for every month of the year. Each vignette does a good job of painting a picture of its character's circumstances in that very moment, and each scene does a good job of capturing the drama that goes on in hotel rooms. The entirety of the play takes place in the year 2003. I do not understand the significance of the year but nonetheless it paved the way for a good soundtrack and some interesting clothing I have not seen in a while.
Looking through the program It is not clear as to who actually wrote the play. Lee Liebeskind worked as the showrunner and it seems he made the vision come to fruition. The first act (or first six months) is largely compiled of scenes that tell their stories largely through dance, and/or pantomiming action. Tiffanie Horner who worked as the choreographer did a great job of expressing how people interact when they are alone together. Jonathan Ezra Rubin who was the fight and intimacy director did a great job with his scenes as well. Each scene in the first act is such a joy to watch as they are so beautifully staged. The second act has scenes that are rooted largely in dialog and these are where a lot of the comedy and sweeter moments of the play can be found. It also seemed to focus more on groups of people sharing a space together rather than in the first act which seemed to focus more on individuals and their relationships with one another.
Jos. B. Musumeci, Jr. expertly created a set that allows the actors to enter into any part of the room that seemingly only has two entrances. This is where a lot of the stage magic that seems to be so prominent in the show comes from. The best example of this is in April (Bard, Nakamura, Vicks) about an affair that seems to have gone on for too long and the main woman is haunted by the ghosts of her past as they continue to pop up throughout various parts of the apartment wherever she goes. Most unexpectedly from the dresser and quite literally out of the bed which at first reminded me of something from a Wes Craven flick.
Neil McFadden created a soundtrack for the show that does a good job of transporting the audience back into 2003. Some of the hits on there were New Year, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Toxic, and Mad World for which Andrea Moore added a nice touch with the faulty Walkman. Moore also transports the audience into the Spanish told tale of the coyote with the masks donned by cast members. Paul Deziel's projections were otherworldly, they provided the spectacle of finding pop culture references to 2003 such as Johnny Cash, The Bush Campaign and the Matrix. They were also in simple terms, very well done and thought out and also made some appearances in a few of the scenes as well.
Standout scenes from the show included February (Dir. Dan Mori), about a same sex hookup (James Finley, Quincy Vicks) where they enact their pro wrestling fantasies. There was also March (Dir. Dan Mori) that focused on an individual and their struggles with addiction (Madeline Key). June (Dir. Chor. Robert Bowen Smith) sucked the audience into a vortex of 'The Coyote Song' compared to two girls being held in captivity.
Crystal Creek Motel is a very ambitious show and showcases many unconventional ways that you can tell a story. I hope to see more of what Flying V has to offer in their coming season. Also the cleaning ladies (Julieta Gonzalo & Erin Denman) are truly the unsung heroes of the story. Now when I am in a hotel I'll think of them and clean after myself I hope those who see this production do as well and follow in the wake of Natalie Cutcher's character in the final scene.
Flying V Theatre's Crystal Creek Motel, is showing until Saturday, November 2, 2019, at The Silver Spring Black Box Theater, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm, Saturday Matinees at 2 pm, Sunday Matinees at 4 pm, Industry nights are Monday 10/21 and 10/28 at 8 pm. You can purchase tickets online.