Innocently watching another person without their knowledge is pretty socially acceptable. How about if it continues for a month? Or what if a person is attracted to someone else and decides to follow him around? Is that stalking? Lookyloo, written and directed by Alex Genty-Waksberg PO ’15, addresses these issues in a funny and original production from Bottom Line Theatre.
The plot follows a woman named Tallulah in her mid-twenties. Beautifully played by Tori Gaines CM ’13, Tallulah begins watching an old woman who feeds squirrels in her local park after she goes through a tough breakup. Tallulah believes watching Rosa, a subtle and endearing Razan Ahmed PO ’14, will give the old widow’s life legitimacy. When Tallulah shares her secret activity with her neurotic friend Dodge, played by Graham Bishop PO ’15, he begins to follow around an actor who he has a crush on, Vince Jackson, played by a dynamic and entertaining Wes Haas PO ’15. Instead of innocently watching from afar, Dodge gets himself entangled in a web of lies when he steals Vince’s wallet and later meets him by chance. Dodge must navigate a budding romance with his stalkee, and Tallulah struggles with whether or not to interact with the dying woman who is giving her life meaning.
Genty-Waksberg’s dialogue is natural and fluid, and it really allows each actor to bring their own personalities to each part. His work discusses serious themes of self-reflection, loss, love, and growing up. Tallulah’s observations of Rosa help her realize that she can live without the security of a relationship, and Dodge learns that he must escape from his obsession with fantasy and be honest with those around him. The show is also bookended by two scenes of a father and son—played by Ian Gallogly PO ’13 and Benjamin Kersten PO ’15, respectively—stuck in a car during a rainstorm. Their relationship exemplifies the close bond that develops through watching the world around them and taking chances.
Although Lookyloo touches on deep subjects, the play manages to add punches of humor throughout. Eliza Pennell PO ’14 is hilarious as a box office worker who torments and exploits Dodge when he attempts to return the stolen wallet, and Manya Janowitz PO ’15 deftly portrays a seven-year-old in an amusing scene with Ahmed’s Rosa. Another great scene involves Tallulah and Dodge attempting to understand, through lip-reading, a conversation between Vince and an ambiguous crying friend, played by Oliver Shirley PO ’15, at a diner. Even in dark moments of the show, Genty-Waksberg’s witty dialogue and the actors’ great chemistry keep the show upbeat and enjoyable.
The show is located in the Large Studio at Pomona College’s Seaver Theatre (which isn’t very large at all), so the performance is extremely physically close to the audience; this fact subtly melds the theme of gaining perspective through watching others with the experience of being an audience member. Cast members sit among the audience, yet the show never breaks the fourth wall. Despite being so close, the audience member is still only observing and never quite interacting with the scene. Genty-Waksberg’s play truly creates a thought-provoking perspective on observance and inaction in the modern world of Facebook stalking and reality TV.
Lookyloo is a can’t-miss, hour-long production. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. Admission is free, and no tickets are necessary.