The story begins when Lette's boss tells him he can't make a big presentation at a conference about the thing he invented; he's shocked to learn that it's because he's unspeakably ugly, something he never realized before (again, evidence of his whiteness and maleness that he was even able to get this far looking so ugly). His wife confirms it, but assures him that she loves him anyway, even though she avoids looking him in the face. Lette decides to get a full facial reconstruction, which is so successful that no one recognizes him and everyone thinks he's beautiful. At first life is wonderful, he now has all the privileges that the pretty people enjoy. But soon the doctor who performed the reconstruction starts giving his face to other people, and he's no longer special. When everyone looks the same, what is beauty? What do we use then to make us special?
|Lette (Sean Dillon) see his new face (with Edwin Strout)|
(photo by Dan Norman)
The play is written with one scene often morphing into the next, sometimes mid-sentence, and it's accomplished seamlessly thanks to the direction and acting, as well the lighting that signifies a scene and/or location shift. The modern block set very neatly and efficiently transforms Open Eye's tiny stage from one location to another, as blocks are turned or opened. Finally, the costume color scheme is a cool and pleasing black/gray/white with touches of red. One thing that's definitely not ugly about this show is the design. (Lighting design by Tony Stoeri, scenic design by Sarah Brandner, costume design by Kathy Kohl.)
The Ugly One continues at Open Eye Figure Theatre through February 16.