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Last of His Kind

Out North Contemporary Art House
and
jack.ed unlimited productions
presents:

 

The Last of His Kind

by Jack Dalton

Run May 10 – 19
Reviewed by Robert Pond

 

The futuristic The Last of His Kind, a new play by Jack Dalton, brings to mind a time when space scientists informed President Lyndon Johnson that there was no evidence of life on the planet Mars.  His response was, “Thank God”.  He may have just been relieved that we wouldn’t corrupt any more civilizations.  It can be said that the Earth is not yet a role model among life-sustaining planets.  We earthlings have either wondered if we are alone in this galaxy or what in the universe are we to become?  The Last of His Kind gives some thought as to Dalton’s implied switchback evolution of our planet’s civilization; that is to say, humanity to clones to humanity.   We begin by meeting the tour Guide (Arianna Coulter-Khan), a plastic like smiling woman who speaks like fingernails on a chalkboard.  She reminds one of those 19 year-old tour guides marshalling the cruise-ridden seniors in front of hotels.

We eventually get it, that the futuristic folks are integrated with clones which were to offset the degrading diversity of old.  But the problem may be that the clone development was not the answer to this strange evolvement of what constitutes civilization.  Central in The Last of His Kind is the cancer-stricken individual, Losh (James Jensen), who being the last of the old humanity is the subject of study by Drs. Brightman (Douglas Causey) and Lilyann (Andrea Staats).  Dr. Holm (David Haynes) is the CEO of the Laboratory that is studying poor Losh.  Adhering to all this is the young man, Crusher (Mark Bautista) who may be a clone.  Crusher is Lilyann’s Sancho Panza, an irritating, loveable, and her bonding confidant.

Playwright Jack Dalton has created a very impressive work.  It’s certainly not escapism theatre and, while it is amusing and sometimes funny, you need to stay with it.  The Last of His Kind is philosophical; it investigates ideals and ideas, and some of the possibilities.   The acting, probably by design, is somewhat robotic which gives it its futuristic flavor.  The very talented Andrea Staats as Lilyann gives the more balance performance.  As the Tour Guide, Arianna Coulter-Khan is theatrically outrageous.  There is a very entertaining performance by Kyra Jensen, who played the cute nine-year-old Sara, the grandmother, if you will, of Losh.  James Jensen in the role of Losh was mysterious in the first act, having only one line, but in Act two, Jensen fulfilled our expectations of the troubled Losh.  Director Ed Bourgeois has a really clean directorial design here.  To a large degree, his staging works well; some of the arm choreography, however, was challenging to digest.   Ryan Anderson and Ruby Kennell’s economic set design as well as Ryan Marlow’s media work was really well suited to the play.  It spoke to the play without shouting.

Playwright Jack Dalton is developing rather quickly.  He speaks well for the Alaskan Native theatre as he did in the recent play, Assimilation; in The Last of His Kind, Dalton’s work is more universal and addresses a larger world of concern.   It’s not a play you’ll hum on the way home but you will think about it and, maybe, what it has to say.

 

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