« Soap Boxing Grand Slam | Main | The Diving Bell and the Butterfly »


I definitely went into "Dummy-A Dis-play" with expectations. Ventriloquist dummies always make me think of cliche horror movies and other weak attempts at being creepy. "Dummy" was neither of these things and actually, the puppets had a relatively small role. Instead of being creeped out or disturbed, I was actually pretty bummed out by the end.
Somewhere in the beginning, the character Leonard said something to the effect of "the funniest thing is unhappiness." Throughout, various unfortunate things happened to Leonard, but they were executed with comedic timing and carried out like punch lines. Many people laughed at these moments, others didn't. Mostly, they gave me a bad feeling, but I don't think that people who laughed actually thought unhappiness to be funny. I think sometimes people laugh when horrible things are set up like jokes because they see the irony, like things that are so un-funny that it's funny. Maybe?

The performance was not long, maybe an hour, but the story seemed to cover so much time, and the characters of Leonard and El seemed to have grown and lived so much towards the end that I found myself missing the beginning, when everything seemed happier and more hopeful. Successful portrayals of the passage of time are so intriguing because it is so hard to grasp how the effect is achieved. I think it must rely a lot on the unconscious.

There were some visual aspects that I really appreciated. One was a board that covered in words which were then covered in balloons. The words weren't visible until an actor would throw a dart and pop a certain balloon. So at key moments, they would throw a dart at a balloon instead of saying a word out loud. The timing was practically perfect.
Anyway, by the end I remember there being much less laughter. Instead of being uncomfortable creeped-out, I was uncomfortably bummed-out, so I think the performance was very successful in it's look at humor and the idea of laughing at the expense of others.