Reviewed by Anthony Arcidi
As part of The Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival, The Chaos Theory of Now, written and performed by Jennifer Joy Pawlitschek, relates how in life, as well in the world of quantum physics, that small forces and actions can have large consequences later in time. Though done with no major costume changes nor cosmic photography, with just three table and chair setups and simple lighting changes, Pawlitschek manages to convey an understanding of the chaos of matter by presenting varying possible outcomes of her personality.
Proudly espousing her present status as a Catholic lesbian nerd with Midwestern Minnesotan roots, Pawlitschek explores how she might have turned out had not key actualizing events within her own conscience or with formative figures in her life happened differently. The outcomes can be comic like how the Trumpist farm wife is always talking about Armageddon or the coming apocalypse, or tragic like the devastated widow possibly in denial that her husband’s death may have been her fault in an accidental overdose or possible suicide. The major revelation for me compares how two objects can float away from each other until they are poles apart as a metaphor for her separation from her family and the loneliness that accompanies it in order to be true to herself.
The performance includes audio effects and queues that match her actions at varying points, and theme matching music, ranging from new age for the open and close to rock for the hilarious teen activist. While the science speak is performed in intimate lecture fashion, the dramatized conversations are one sided dialogue to an unseen speaker. The disadvantage of a one person show with no costume changes is the differing characters can become a hazy blend where you have to orient, whether this character is a takeoff of a previous character or different. The dialogue pacing can take on a hypnotic rhythm and I found myself drifting a couple times at the two-thirds to three-quarter mark.
But the strings of logic are neatly tied up by the conclusion of the show and the audience walks out of the theater with an alternate perspective of how we all got to where we all are in the first place.
The Chaos Theory of Now plays from September 8th through September 15, 2019 at Theater For the New City 155 1st ave NY NY https://theaterforthenewcity.net