SALT LAKE COUNTY — Float, produced by Kallisti Theatre Company, was interesting in many ways. Written by Elise C. Hanson-Barnett, who also performs in it, Float is about four people that are connected by love and friendship throughout the various scenes set in different time periods.
Hanson-Barnett pulled the show along with her fantastic portrayal of each of the characters she wrote and performed. I especially enjoyed the southern belle with the whiskey. The middle scene was the most interesting with two couple’s drama which included one actress, Katherine R. Tietjen, holding another at gunpoint. This was the most engaging part of the entire show, as the mood between Tietjen—in fear and unraveling—and Hanson-Barnett—calmly playing opposite her—was both fearless and nonplussed. This was most intriguing to me as I have rarely witnessed someone being held up at gunpoint and keeping their cool. Jesse S. Curran played the man the women fought over, and rather than go at each other, Hanson-Barnett teaches Tietjen to turn her heart to stone for the men she loves.
Another actor, Oscar M. Anderson, performing various roles, was great at emotional delivery but lacked the focus that showed he was comfortable in his roles onstage. During the first scene I saw him drop character between a few of his lines, and stare at his fellow actor waiting for their delivery. Tietjen shared this problem in the first and middle scene, and when there was some wet blue paint on Anderson that got on Tietjen’s hand, I was concerned that Tietjen was worried it would get somewhere it wasn’t supposed and thus distracted me from the scene itself.
There were couple meaningful moments that all for characters seemed connected by love and friendship, like when they were all sharing a bottle of alcohol and sitting so close together, one guy was on a girl’s lap, and the last scene they had another picturesque pose as they contemplated the beginnings of the universe.
Float‘s biggest drawback is that it was hard to tell what time each scene was set in. The name of the show made the most sense when one of the women who was having a relationship with two men at the same time claimed she and her lover were floating between realities. The music playing throughout also had a floating feel, though it didn’t always not in the scene. It also was quite loud, and I was concerned those further back wouldn’t be able to hear the actors. There were some powerful quotes about life and love, one from Ayn Rand, which was fun to hear, but I couldn’t really follow a lot of the dialogue because it was so poetic without the great storytelling to string my interest along. Also, their accents changed as often as their costumes, which caused constant confusion.
Overall, I wish Float had been less jumpy, even though it was written to be that way. There were some very enticing moments in the show, and I enjoyed those parts until the play shifted to something completely different and seemingly unrelated. I think this show can be improved on with some cleaning up and a stronger underlying purpose.