Bupkis: A Play About Nothing | Sugar Space | Theater | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Bupkis: A Play About Nothing 

When: Fri., May 8, 8 p.m., Sat., May 9, 2 & 8 p.m., Fri., May 15, 8 p.m. and Sat., May 16, 2 & 8 p.m. 2015
Phone: 801-558-2556
Email: TheHiveTheatre@hotmail.com
Price: $15
hivetheatre.com/welcome-to-the-hive/the-2015-theatre-revolution
There are times when a creative work can seem like a dare—a challenge to the audience to find something with which to engage beyond the most obvious, comfortable levels. It's the "blank canvas with a single red dot" phenomenon, where viewers can be left with feelings best described as, "Do they think I'm stupid?" crossed with "Hell, I could do that." The Hive Theatre Co.'s production of Bupkis: A Play About Nothing has just such a button-pushing conceit: It's a series of stand-alone segments designed, as we're informed by our "narrator" Yancy (Eric Leckman), to have "no themes, no messages." And so we're left with snippets of situations: two conspicuously named characters (Jeffrey Owen and Zachan Michael Reynolds) discussing what may be plans for a key historical event; a kindly old man (Owen again) who has kidnapped a young woman (Andrea Peterson); a security guard (Spencer Belnap) encountering a man (Reynolds) who thinks he's receiving messages from aliens. The segments themselves, at times, seem frustrating in their lack of specific direction and in their reliance on broad, outrageous scenarios. But when the audience knows the work isn't meant to be "about" anything, it gives them the chance to focus on other elements of stagecraft—the sets and costumes designed with an almost camouflage effect of chalky white geometric figures on a black background, or Peterson's performance effectively conveying the terror of a hostage. If Bupkis is about nothing, that doesn't mean it can't be about nothing in interesting ways. (Scott Renshaw)
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