Red Over Red at Incubator Arts Project

Saturday night took us to the Incubator Arts Project to see 31 Down‘s Red Over Red, playing until August 7th.

On the surface Red Over Red is a play about fear of flying, but it is as much about the fear of commitment, problems in relationships and the difficulties of communication.

The show opens with Shauna Kelly playing an air hostess named Holly who is afraid of taking off – she habitually calls an ex-boyfriend Craig for reassurance before every take-off. Then we transition to Caitlin McDonough-Thayer who plays the wife of one Captain Frank Donna (DJ Mendel) who not only fears for his safety but his fidelity during his long hours in flight. DJ Mendel is deliciously creepy as an airline pilot given to salacious cockpit talk, seducing stewardesses and an almost-erotic relationship with turbulence. Ryan Holsopple, the sound & video designer, also plays the voice of Craig and the role of an air traffic controller who has a brief fling (possibly imagined) with Holly as well an ongoing comradeship with Captain Donna’s wife.

Deftly directed by Shannon Sindelar, the complex web of relationships unfolds in elliptical scenes, crafted in 31 Down’s signature cinematic style with a noirish, menacing tinge. This is easily the loudest 31 Down show I’ve seen, with a carefully crafted, multilayered mesh of machine music underlying the action. The show employs video well, using some cool tricks to show the plane in flight as well as the inside of the airplane’s cabin, as if from a spy-cam.

Red Over Red unfolds at a leisurely pace and at times the tension lags a little bit, but overall this moody meditation on the fear of flight is a well-acted and technologically accomplished, enjoyable evening in the theater.

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