Pilot? Takes Flight

Brianna McFarlane

     Waiting in an airport terminal is easily the worst part of traveling. However, I’m not sure that I would enjoy participating in what the kids at Gioco have cooked up for en route passengers to pass the time either. Pilot?, playing at Arts Court Library, is a story about four people who find themselves unwittingly signed up for a strange new game show that takes place in the airport’s boarding room.

Walking into the space, you are immediately greeted by a bubbly flight attendant, played by Sam Dietrich, who informs the audience that you are to be the live audience of the new Japanese game show “Damu Amerikashi” in which four random contestants compete against one another in an airport terminal for “highest honor.”

Similar to popular Japanese game shows such as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, the contestants must suffer through embarrassment and humiliation before reaching their final goal. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the situations are ridiculous enough to get plenty of laughs. Gioco successfully recreates the humour the shows it parodies without relying heavily on  clichéd stereotypes, focusing instead on the hilarity inherent in watching people subject themselves to pain in pursuit of fleeting glory.

While this show is successful overall, there is definitely some room for improvement. The motivations of the characters could have been better developed: for instance, I had no idea when Pascal, played by Jaclyn Martinez, became attracted to Pete, Kyle Cunningham, or why; there isn’t enough depth to Piper, as played by Ashley Rissler, to make me feel sorry for her when a certain lie is revealed; and, finally, it was not made clear as to why any of these characters wanted to win the grand prize or what winning would even mean to them.

Yet despite the one-dimensionality of the play’s characters, the show ultimately proves to be a good time. I am looking forward to what Gioco comes up with in the future.

Pilot?

Written and performed by:

Michael Connors

Kyle Cunningham

Jaclyn Martinez

Elizabeth McIelwain

Ashley Rissler

Special appearance by:

Samuel Dietrich

Arts Court Library