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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

“Curve 9” Boomerangs into Boston’s Arts Scene

Possibly the greatest surprise to come out of the back stages of Boston’s Davis Square in the last year is “Curve 9,” a combination piece that is at once inspirational and comical. Written and composed by Brian Weissman and directed by University of Massachusetts alumni Naomi Bennett, “Curve 9” explores the chasm between humanity and technology. This work has so many elements woven into it that, at first glance, they might not seem complementary, but mingled with the inspired score and the talented acting of some veteran and up-coming artists, the show takes you by surprise.

The plot is a simple one: unassuming, beer-guzzling Noah, your average Joe, hears God speaking to him from a video game. Noah, it seems, is righteous. History deigns to repeat itself as he is instructed to gather two of every kind and set off in a space ship equipped with a “curve” drive to find a new world. Along for the ride are a few of Noah’s friends from the android body shop, his chilly wife Shirley and a robot genetics genius by the name of “Gene Pool.”

Dancing the fine line between The Little Shop of Horrors, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a comical vaudeville act, “Curve 9” comes fully equipped with numerous catchy tunes, whimsical little ditties about love and a brilliant biblical undertone that will interest the average believer and leave those of other faiths still smiling about the irony.

One of the show’s strongest points is definitely found in its cast. The janitor-turned-messiah, Noah is well played by Joshua Wolkomir, a graduate of Tufts University and The British-American Drama Academy in England. Joshua’s emerging talent is one to watch not only for his emotional expression of his character, but also for the tone and depth of his voice, unusually clear and striking. This is someone I wouldn’t be surprised to see in Hollywood someday.

Another couple of gems in casting are Naeemah A. White-Peppers (as Shirley) and Jason Bowell (as Dr. Gene Pool). Naeemah has a beautiful voice and were it not for a few sound difficulties, I would have been able to enjoy her performance more fully. Naeemah is a graduate of Harvard University and a performer for Boston’s American Repertory Theatre. Jason’s portrayal of the cunning robot turned arch-nemesis begs to be applauded. Evil done well. Accepted at Julliard, but not yet in attendance, I say, “What are you waiting for?”

Finally, my only real criticisms lie with set design and sound. The transitions between multiple settings were not always as obvious as they could have been. The set, while fitting in some scenes, was far too Spartan and a good reason why everyone should donate to the arts! Sound as well, was disappointing. Perhaps this is due to the space being rather small with low ceilings. The most disappointing instances were two of Naeemah’s solos and the finale for Jason as the genetic messiah. I would have really enjoyed hearing those songs.

All in all, “Curve 9” delivered. It turned my Sunday afternoon assignment into a pleasurable event that I will always remember. I urge you students and faculty alike to put on your winter fleece and venture out to Davis Square this weekend for a little surprise that will get your blood pumping and warm you inside and out.