Lizzie, who’s 13 on the time of the journey, is flanked by 14-year-old Tucker (Ethan Dubin) and 17-year-old Rob (Jordan Bellow) throughout the once more seat. The siblings take turns commenting on the movement, and at first it seems as if Harnetiaux is organising a conventionally amusing memory play peppered with nostalgic particulars: Rob wears guyliner and a Remedy T-shirt; the mother (Annie Henk) consults a paper map, sooner than falling asleep beneath it; the daddy (Pete Simpson), in his plaid shirt, seems to be like like a Trad Dad doll.
“California” is unquestionably amusing, though not commonplace, neither of which comes as a shock from Harnetiaux. She displayed a aptitude for the dryly surreal in “Tin Cat Footwear” (2018), which was supplied, as this new current is, as part of Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks sequence (“What the Structure Means to Me,” “Tumacho”). And her very humorous multipart podcast play, “The MS Phoenix Rising,” featured an experimental director trying to stage Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist one-act “The Chairs” aboard a cruise ship.
“California” is a considerably good showcase for non sequiturs and dream logic, as when Mother begins buzzing nonsense phrases and Lizzie says, “Mother, that’s not, like, a music.”
“It may very well be,” her mother replies.
However as with “The Chairs,” which Ionesco described as a “tragic farce,” the current takes on a darker tone as unreliable narrators bend memory and actuality into an ominous tangle of sophisticated chronologies and alternate prospects. The ground is constantly shifting away from every the characters and the viewers.
Will Davis’s manufacturing is best when conjuring an ominous mood constantly overshadowed by dying — foretold, remembered, alluded to, imagined. It could be the passing of certainly one of many characters. Or it could be the mass deaths of nuclear Armageddon; the freeway trippers drive by the Hanford nuclear plant, created as part of the Manhattan Mission. And the car, evoked with merely chairs and the lighting designer Oona Curley’s atmospheric cues, turns right into a claustrophobic enclosure touring all through home along with time.