This show was my pick for the weekend because I thought it might be odd. It was, and I was thoroughly pleased by its oddness.
Second Step says they were formed from a desire to experiment and explore the ideas and techniques on stage that they’d always wanted to try. SS Lightbulb is a stupendous step in this direction, and while it’s already enjoyable, it also carries a lot of potential still waiting to be unlocked by these talented young performers.
The first thing we notice is the precision with which the lights are manipulated off the top. The play of darkness and light controlled by handheld lights is not particularly original in itself, but the link between form and content here is very strong; the characters are actually in a dark lighthouse and need the flashlights for a reason besides creating a stage atmosphere. This idea follows from the content of the show, and is not imposed on it for the sake of gimmickery.
In general, this show features a lot of good ideas that all work very well together. These ideas would, however, benefit from a bit of extension and refinement. For example, there are a few different “styles” of speech throughout this piece, as well as a lot of silence playing a role. I think this is a great idea. By refining when exactly they are working in silence, with words, and with simplified sounds, the show could gain a more powerful symbolic level of significance, perhaps by coming to represent distinct characters, moods, or things. I also think it is possible to explore the tension between light and darkness more thoroughly, not to mention playing harder with the light sources themselves.
Finally, by adding a deeper reason for the presence of these electricians, giving them individual stakes, for example, or making us care more about the fate of their endeavour, the show could attain a sort of resonance that it lacks to a large extent in its present incarnation. I can’t wait to see the next step for the folks at Second Step.
Presented by Second Step
Created by Monica Bradford*, Even Gilchrist*, Cullen Elijah McGrail*, & Franco Pang
Performed by *