Artisanal Intelligence (Venue 10, Acacia Hall)
By Alan Kellogg
Well, here we are, apparently a group of über-hip start-up types, ready to pitched by Jane (Hannah Everett) on a revolutionary new product. It’s Barry, (Drew Carlson) and she (or pick yer pronoun) is the ‘bot/automaton/droid of the future today, designed to fulfill every customer need in today’s exacting world of hipster commerce. Plaid flannels and myriad tuques rule.
There’s no limit at what Barry can do. Well, maybe a few things. From time to time, (her, its ?) ) ever-blinking eyes and general twitchiness signal trouble. There is that dalliance with Miss Boona, the coffee maker, not a bad harmonizer along with her brewing prowess.
Yes, things are not always tight with Jane, who clearly has some worries about her latest marketing project. It’s fair to say Barry has an independent streak, which could prove dangerous. Horror of horrors, there is actually a Barry job interview looming at Tim Hortons? My word.
Speaking of which, Ira J. Cooper’s rich, jam-packed script is a wondrous thing to hear, a veritable glossary of the Here and Now, with some serious things re: A.I., labour issues etc. to ponder among all the laughs, which are many.
The performances are very good indeed, and director Bronwen Marsden keeps things moving along expertly. Strong, entertaining work courtesy of Vancouver’s Spec Theatre, which is welcome back any time.