Emily White ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Writer
Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension, a new work by local playwright Heather Houston by the Vagabond Theatre Group, explores the way one person’s life and death can change the many lives and relationships of those around her. Seen through the eyes of a theoretical physicist, Supergravity is an examination on the way people make their marks in the vast universe.
The scientific undertones (or rather overtones) are a bit hard to grasp at first, especially given the multiple time jumps that the story encompasses and subsequently attempts to explain through science. For a typical theatre audience member, the science can be difficult to connect with, but the play truly shines when the characters confront each other about their deep-seated and long hidden issues. Rachel Katherine Alexander is an inspiring Carmen, the friend, lover, and family member of the character who is already dead at play’s open. Each time she appears in a flashback, she truly captivates. The rest of the cast is sharp and vulnerable all at once, each member ready to burst open with emotion at any moment, and when they finally do, it is cathartic, as are the fulfilling scenes in which Carmen finally loses her mysterious façade (though, perhaps, the build-up to this moment is a bit too long).
Technically, the play is complex and successful. The simple set is fitting and dynamic and the lighting is dramatic and interesting. Several other technical elements such as a fog machine make the experience feel other-worldly as intended by the nature of the subject matter. The fact that all these elements have been incorporated into the small 49-seat Factory Theatre and don’t feel at all claustrophobic is truly a feat to experience. This is not a play meant to be understood; it is a play one connects with on an indirect level. Perhaps in the “eleventh dimension.”
Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension runs through Saturday, July 20 at the Factory Theatre on 791 Tremont Street.