Amid the typical generation Y music of the 90′s that interjects itself between set piece changes and a title that hints at the quirky, A. Rey Pamatmat’s “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” is an intricately woven story of three adolescent kids trying to figure out love, family, and each other in a world that seems to hinder them in every way. Part comedy and part drama, this wonderful play firmly grounds itself with real characters and real issues to effortlessly pull both heartstrings and laughs.
It would be easy and wrong to shoehorn archetypes in this story, and the play works best with the different undertones and psyches that each character brings to the table. Issues of abandonment and loneliness teeter with child-like innocence for the precocious twelve year old, Edith, in a Jekyll and Hyde like fashion. Edith’s older brother, Kenny, exists in duality from robotically moving through the day-to-day in his familial responsibilities, in midst of an absent father and deceased mother, to passionately living on the societal fringe in his love-life. And Benji, Kenny’s study mate turned lover, still tied to his mother’s apron string proves sharp contrast to Edith and Kenny’s lifestyle of independence. Much to our delight, these complex layers are carefully peeled through Director Jennifer Chang’s use of impeccable pacing. The awkward silence of a first date moves seamlessly to revelations of personal strife, and a simple silencing kiss has the audience holding their breath.
Still, true sympathy and viewer connection comes from the cast itself. Amielynn Abellera’s portrayal of Edith is animated and over-the-top with all the subtleties of an imaginative young girl left to her own devices. Rodney To, who plays Kenny, feels like a real teenager with the weight of world on his shoulders, beautifully turning bitter stoicism into an explosive fit of rage, guilt, and conflict. Brian Hostenske with great comedic timing and awkward mannerisms turns Benji into a surprisingly endearing and likeable nerd.
The music, light, and set pieces all worked well for the most part, though the setting was a little too maudlin for my tastes in a play that seemed to focus itself on the realistic portrayal of teenagers. Regardless, production did a fantastic job in using the set. Minimal set changes really brought out new environments through the use of sound, lighting, and costume. Also on more of a side note, the 90’s music that played in between sets tended to kill established mood and atmospheres, not enough to harm the production, but it certainly could have been used more sparingly.
Suffice it to say Edith can and does much much more than just shoot things and hit them. It is hard not to fall in love with the characters more than the play itself, and the play does a wonderful job of warming and feeling its way towards the audience instead of relying on knee-jerk emotive responses. In other words, it is definitely worth taking up room and board with Edith, Kenny, and Benji, if only for an evening.
Sung L. Kong
by A. Rey Pamatmat
Directed by Jennifer Chang
Amielynn Abellera, Brian Hostenske and Rodney To
Costume Design by Rachel Stivers
Lighting Design by Jennifer Hill
Sound Design by Dennis Yen
Property Master Naomi Kasahara
Stage Manager – Amelia Worfolk
Saturday, October 20 through Saturday, November 10
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Previews Thursday, October 18 at 8 p.m. & Friday, October 19 at 8 p.m.
Added Matinee Saturday, November 10 at 2 p.m.
1111-B Olive Ave. Burbank, CA 91506