Prep actually reminds me more of The Gospel of Lovingkindness, seen at Pillsbury House earlier this year, than Buzzer, in that the three characters mostly speak to the audience in monologues (often responding to recorded voices), rather than speak to each other. Even when two of them are in a scene together, they often speak to the audience about each other. This device really lets us get inside each character's head to know what they're thinking and feeling. The first character we meet is "Miss" (Jodi Kellogg), the principal of an underprivileged school in an unnamed city, who sends her children to Ivy-league-like school a few miles away. But she genuinely cares for her students and wants them to succeed. She's taken a special interest in Chris (Kory LaQuess Pullam), a good student who is struggling after the recent death of his friend in a drive-by shooting. He has some disturbing ideas about how to make a statement and spur change in the community. He tells his friend Oliver (Ryan Colbert) about it, which angers him and causes a fight, leading to events that change the three and the school for good. But not in the way that you think.
|Ryan Colbert, Kory LaQuess Pullam, and Jodi Kellogg
In just over an hour, Pillsbury House Theatre's Prep tackles some heavy themes of racism and violence in a realistic yet poetic way. It doesn't offer solutions so much as a ray of hope and a way to think and talk about the issues. Playing now through October 18.