Kudos, City Lights, for bringing Spacebar by Kyle Sugarman, on stage. Jeremy Helgeson is absolutely superb, as Kyle Sugarman, a 16 year old with aspiration of becoming a Broadway playwright. The playwright Michael Mitnick, is graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Perhaps in Spacebar, there is some touch of autobiography?
Kyle Sugarman’s dad (played by brilliant Jeff Kramer), delivers a monologue, in the opening scene, that is irreverent, shocking, and hysterically funny. In one short speech, he delivers non-sugar coated reality of events to his four year old, that one hopes, is beyond a child’s level of comprehension. As the play progresses, it becomes apparent that everything the child (who is now a young man) aspires for and becomes, is perhaps triggered by those events. There is a deeply touching, just tragic enough to constantly tug at your heart strings kind of undertone, to the play, that is otherwise quite funny.
In a cover letter addressed to Broadway, Sugarman explains his script and as he reads the letter aloud, the script plays out beside him. Captain Iditarod (played by Jeff Kramer), attired in lighted space suit, owns a bar in outer space, several thousand years into the future, and he serves FutureBeer to his friend, Mortimer Pip (played by Kieth C. Marshall), who engages in no-holds bar profanities. Suddenly, there on the edge of black hole, lands another space vessel and descends beautiful Esmerelda Happenstance (Morgan Voellger), with her Playboy, millionaire fiancée (George Psarras). (The cast in this play is excellent and loved both Voellger and Psarras.) Amidst all the comedy of events, there is a short tragic saga of Captain Iditarod’s long lost daughter and how he plans to find her.
When Sugarman does not receive the response he desired, from Broadway, at the insistence of his girl friend, also superbly played by Adrienne Walters, he escapes to New York, to personally make a case about his play, to Broadway. But there is more. Kyle not only wants his play produced on Broadway but he wants it heralded by a big bill board, precisely on the corner of 46th and Broadway. Precisely why? Didn’t I say, there is a tragic undertone, in this part comedy, part drama, part futuristic production? As Kyle Sugarman says, “Spacebar is the story of humanity. Spacebar is not about the space key on a computer keyboard.”
Executive Artistic Director Lisa Mallette, Associate Artistic Director, Kit Wilder, Technical Director Ron Gasparinetti, and Stage Manager, Michelle Marko deserve big kudos for beautiful stage design and lighting. Costumes by Erin Haney and lighting by Nick Kumamoto, brilliantly complement the futuristic theme.
Spacebar is playing at City Lights Theater, in San Jose. For more information and tickets, go to www.cltc.org .