BY KYLE NOGUERA
After the people from “Written in Blood” left the stage, the stage is reset once more in the protection of the dark. After a few minutes, the lights dim even more, and then the spotlight bursts from the ceiling to a couple. Only this one is different: they’re sporting…clown noses? This is the first thing we see, in “The One in the Paper” written and directed by Nati Guillen. The story is, that the couple here are two clowns, who are with a trope of other clowns. They were featured in the local paper, but the paper called all the people in the trope horrible names, and made up “facts” about the clowns. As clowns decide what to do, Jenna * comes up with a plan, one that requires them to create their own paper. This paper would interview the clowns, and would be just and fair to everyone…or so they thought. In their struggle to build the paper up from a dream to a reality, Jenna begins twisting and manipulating the facts to make the stories more interesting.
The plot line is one of the best parts of this production. It feels unique and interesting, and the motif of the underdog rising above tyranny, only to become the tyrants themselves, was relatable to everyday life. The clowns are loveable, and the actors make each character feel unique. The director (Nati) also made a few brave choices in the production that really added to the charm of the play. For example, the intermission was scheduled right smack in the middle of the play’s action. I had noticed this on the playbill and I was pretty skeptical about the efficacy of the intermission placement. However, the intermission was used to show the passage of time, with the other actors walking freely among the stage, all fulfilling specific jobs, such as the photographer taking pictures, and the editor in chief grumbling over work, steadily getting more and more angry. It was a great way for the play to emphasize the passing of time, and it really worked. Not only that, but the costume design was sellar. The clown costumes, while easily identifiable, never looked or felt cheap, or cliche. They all had a different style, and that really
The production was not without its flaws. There was one awkward scene where the actors sang a rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that was slightly marred due to the actors messing up their cues on the song. However, it was only a minor problem, and everything else beside that one scene went by smoothly. Overall, “The One in the Paper” was a very interesting and unique play. The characters felt alive, the plot was interesting, there was an emotional through-line as we watch the clowns slowly lose a sense of morality. In the end, the editor in chief sees the error of her ways, and they manage to pull off the paper, without relying on lies. The ending was a good way to cap off the action, and I could say that this was a play I’ll never quite forget.