Poets and painters have long been known to draw artistic inspiration from bad dope. First-time scribe Benjamin Davis is, therefore, entitled to the bummer drug trip he depicts in “Silverland,” which continues the Brits Off Broadway fest at 59E59. But the newbie playwright is no Coleridge (no Kerouac, either), and his surreal vision of a group of young Brits who collectively trip out at a London rave fails to mine any decent poetry from their incoherent babbling about the coming apocalypse.
Helmer Di Trevis gets decent perfs from the Lacuna Theater Company’s youthful ensemble. But overall production values are skimpy, and little has been done to elucidate the fractured timeline of this futuristic “eco-fantasia.” Between the sketchy set and muddy lighting, it’s hard to get a fix on the time, place, and purpose of each scene.
Gazing into the murk, it appears as if the ravers at this revel have nothing on their minds beyond scoring drugs to maintain their highs. Only Ellen (Sophie Hunter), an artist, seems to be aware that, in the environmental wasteland of their drought-stricken age, they are all dancing on the brink of an ecological abyss.
A thesp with a well-trained voice and an intense style, Hunter plays Ellen with the grave intelligence that such a Cassandra deserves. This artist-seer has music in her lines, and Hunter puts a quiver into her visions of a great city poised to fall off the perch of civilization.
“And when we do (fall),” she predicts, “it will be a plunge into the deep dark, and our green island will be engulfed by the silver sea.”
Once the other ravers crawl out of the club and begin to have some intimations of the impending catastrophe, they, too, find their voices. (Not to mention their arms, which never stop waving.) But scribe Davis limits them to tongue-twisting rants about a blasted plane where “acrid smoke engulfs us as we boost up the carrion cartilage with its wasters and counterfeiters chased by rottweilers.” Indeed.