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Hold On To Your Butts …

by Karen Tortora-Lee on September 17, 2014

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Dr. Ian Malcolm: If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.
– Jurassic Park

Life will not be contained, but evidently neither will theatre. Right now, at the PIT Jurassik Parc – Hold On To Your Butts is also expanding to new territories and crashing through barriers. Is it painful? No. Is it dangerous? Possibly. Is it worth the price of admission? Abso-velociraptor-lutely.

So how exactly do you do a live action shot-for-shot reenactment of a movie like Jurassic Park? To get it right, doing the original movie justice while keeping an audience entertained, there are three things you need: perfect timing, decisive direction and complete audience-buy in.   Have that and you walk away with theatre gold – and that’s just what Nick Abeel, Kelsey Didion, Kyle Schaefer and Kristin McCarthy Parker did. If you want to join the one-hour thrill ride they’re currently staging at The PIT, get your tickets now and get ready to Hold On To Your Butts.

To say  Jurassik Parc – Hold On To Your Butts is “creative” is an understatement. From the first moment it’s obvious that this play will mimic the original as faithfully as two people with nothing but props (courtesy of Ashlee Springer) and a damn good foley artist (Didion) can. Where Spielberg used up a $63,000,000 budget on CGI and, I don’t know, craft services? this team keeps it lean proving less is more.  The results are often delightful, consistantly humourous, and entertaining throughout.

Abeel and Schaefer embody every one of the characters – friend and foe, hunter and prey … sometimes full-bodied, sometimes simply using a carefully (and artfully) manipulated prop.


Abeel and Schaefer

What’s astonishing is how much is done with so little. Strip away the bells and whistles in a movie that arguably had very little going for it except for its bells and whistles and the brunt of the evening’s entertainment lies squarely on the shoulders of a strong cast and their ability to jog your memory of the best bits while leaving room for you to enjoy their interpretive camera angles.

While Chaos Theory is still alive and well (and hilariously expounded upon in a spot-on Jeff Goldblum portrayal) there is no chaos in the execution of this show, thanks to Kristin McCarthy Parker’s tight direction and the absolute synchronicity Abeel and Schaefer have as they morph through the enormous cast of characters, 14 types of dinosaurs and one unfortunate goat.  Clever staging often not only recreates shots but often sticks a pin in the original giving a fresh shine to an old chestnut.

The creative team also keeps the vision crisp by having a seemingly endless bag of tricks and not relying on the same few “we’re going to do this which will represent that” move. By constantly switching it up – right till the very end – there isn’t a moment when you want to look away.

Were there minutes I was confused?  Yes.  With only two actors there are bound to be moments when things get a little muddled.  However, those moments were rare and the overall piece was so perfectly constructed that I think I’d rather blame Michael Crichton’s source material than Parc’s creative team.

If you’re a fan of the movie then this is something that can’t be missed. If you’ve never seen Jurassic Park (anyone?) then let this be your introduction to the work. Trust me, see this first, and you’ll never see the movie the same way again.

It’s a short run – playing just till the 23rd – so find a way to see this show. There it is.


Hold On To Your Butts…
The PIT – Striker
123 E 24th St
New York, NY 10010

Remaining shows:
Saturday, September 20th – 11PM
Monday, September 22nd – 9:30PM
Tuesday, September 23rd – 7PM

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