Asheville – On its surface, Travis Lowe’s Some Notes On Dating During Outbreak is a night of fast-paced, clever dialogue, which drives the three-person play through the world’s worst first date.
It is, of course, much more than its surface. Full of completely unexpected twists and turns, delving into the humanity of connection, the fear of trusting others, our internal struggles with our pasts, and surprisingly, our inherent need for hope.
Known for what he calls “puzzle plays,” Lowe has once again given us an experience that is thoroughly layered. Deftly constructed in plot, character growth, and interpersonal relationships, with his trademark moments of hilarity, poignancy, and utter shock.
While the mysteries were revealed during the show, I continued to ponder what I heard and saw long after my drive home. Even now, I am peeling away more from this experience, finding tiny puzzle pieces tucked into unanticipated places.
Originally written in 2017, this is not another “COVID pandemic scenario.” Although I do feel our shared familiarity over the last few years has given the audience an unforeseen perspective, a vantage point that drew me in quite differently than when I first heard a reading of this play in January of 2020.
As a person who emotes quite loudly during an engaging performance, I felt quite welcome to be my unfiltered self in BeBe Theatre. The show was produced by The Sublime Theater & Press and directed by Steven Samuels. Both the company and Samuels are thrilled when audience members are moved to express themselves as I do. And still, even I was surprised by my thunderous laughs and utterances of jolting shock throughout the night.
This is not only due to Lowe’s dexterous writing and Samuel’s masterfully intuitive direction but also to the absolute skill of the three actors.
While I would like to expand on the performances of each individual separately, I am also not one to give spoilers, and delving into that would offer more information than I’m willing to give. Instead, I will say that Lauren Otis, Olivia Stuller, and Alex McDonald Villarreal each delivered work that thoroughly expressed fully formed people. From the most nuanced body language to the zany comedic physicality, the audience was given an undeniable understanding of the lives lived and lessons learned or not learned by each character.
If you, like Travis Lowe and myself, enjoy being surprised by theater. If you love shows that spark your imagination and keep you guessing. If you want your emotions engaged and your perspectives changed, then Some Note On Dating During Outbreak is one production you don’t want to miss.
Staged at BeBe Theatre, performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. through July 29th.