Words, Words, Words
Dir. Deniz Ozkardes
Words, Words, Words is… jarring. Starring three chimps locked in a cage with three typewriters to see if they could recreate Hamlet, Words is a play of contrast. It has a literary wit (with references to Shakespeare, Milton and Marx) juxtaposed with jokes about defecating on a pack of cigarettes. Mostly, though, the contrast comes from the characters of the chimps. The charming professionalism of Milton – the scientist running the test has a sense of humour – played by Anna Tantillo, conflicts with the rebellious idealism of Swift (Audrey Wong), whose strong gesticulation and Lenin-esque oratorical style is dulled by inconsistent enunciation. Between them, Kafka (Shanika Power-Montague) defuses the tension entertainingly as the quintessential stoned philosopher, telling everyone to relax while casually smoking and hitting her ‘k’ key repeatedly.
What Words really needed was more. It needed more exploitation of space, for one. The Barron is a small place, yet the actors were almost entirely confined to a small section center-stage. While the chimps are nominally typing the whole time, they do stop and converse. When Tantillo and Wong argue, let them get up and face each other. I want- ed my eyes to be drawn, not just my ears. The dialogue needed to be more compact. Good jokes were sometimes spoiled by a crucial extra second between setup and payoff.
Most importantly, Words needed more time. I was presented with interesting characters in a unique environment, but nothing changed or developed. The lights just go down on Montague, delivering the opening lines of Hamlet, with no clear sense of resolution.
Words, Words, Words left me wanting more.