All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.
Murder, mystery, talking urns, hangovers, and medieval torture devices all sound like parts of the most ridiculous frat party ever, but they aren’t. These are the thoughts that run through Rick Jacob’s head as he goes through life. Together with a talented cast, they lead to one unreal, hilarious story in Albert Einstein High School’s production of Figments.
The Dramatic Publishing Company published Figments, by author Billy St. John, in 1995. Although it never made it to Broadway, schools and community theaters continue to perform this original imaginative comedy. Figments tells of a day in the life of Rick Jacobs, a playwright with a serious case of writer’s block. The characters of his latest work come to life onstage, acting out his ideas and performing scenes differently as he makes edits. Rick attempts to work through his writer’s block while dealing with the women in his life – his overprotective mother and the attractive neighbor Loni, who has placed him firmly in the friend zone.
Rick’s inability to express himself off the written page is manifested through the creation of alter egos of people in his own life, who act out thoughts Rick wishes he could share.
Listening to the advice of Imaginary Rick and using his creativity, Rick attempts to assert himself, write his play, get the girl, lose his mother and find happiness.
Marc Cioffi led the show as Rick Jacobs. Despite his ample stage time, he kept his energy and enthusiasm with the role the entire time. His physicality and sarcasm embodied the slightly awkward, yet heavily opinionated writer. Carlos Castillo, as Imaginary Rick was outstanding as well. Castillo’s spot-on mannerisms and perfect comedic timing had the audience in stitches. Cioffi and Castillo worked well together, with speaking in unison and playing off one another.
Mickiko Feehan as Beatrice (Mama) was perfectly cast. Her voice infliction, stereotypical overbearing mother body language and quirks made her performance hysterical. Feehan and Cioffi formed a superb “mama and mama’s boy” relationship. Noah Habenstreit as Rick’s late Pop stood out from the ensemble, delivering lines with subtle wit all while appearing in an oversized funereal urn.
Adeline McCaul as Imaginary Loni had brilliant stage presence with charisma and a comic use of seduction. Castillo and McCaul shared excellent chemistry that can only be made-up in one’s head, as they chased each other through the apartment, losing clothing, exaggerating the real attraction between Rick and Loni.
The set was well designed, and used the entire space. It was built to give the audience a sense of wonder, with objects moving on and off the stage without any techs visible, and giving the audience a second of questioning of how people ended up in certain rooms. The set strengthened the audience’s experience. Sound effects and songs used gave a cinematic feel to the scenes where the figments of Rick’s imagination acted out his play-in-progress and were executed well.
This comedy was both sincere and ludicrous, being heartfelt at times and utterly hilarious at others. The imagination of a writer personified made Figments enjoyable, creative, and a production to remember.