Across Dallas stages, a long ignored genre of theater seems to have taken center stage. Science fiction, with all its robots, aliens, and future societies has been seen in its intellectual (Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre) and its campy (Rocky Horror Show at Dallas Theater Center). This weekend, Ochre House Theater ships a cast of characters off into dystopia for Flower in the Machine, a new play by Kevin Grammer about a young couple trying to escape a world managed by machines.
This is the third play Grammer's written for Ochre House - or, in truth, ever - and after writing two plays with political statements, including last year's Good Nuts the well-received comedy about the job economy, he just wanted to write a simple love story.
"The play is really about how a young couple is trying to get out of the mechanized world into a more natural world," says Grammar. "It's sort of also bringing in aspects of what we deal with every day. We do more and more with our computers and our phones. We can hardly operate without them anymore."
If you've seen an Ochre House show before, you know that this theater company always has a bit of magic up its sleeve. In one of the smallest performance spaces in town (we recently named it best small theater), you're sucked into another world, which may make it the perfect milieu for a science fiction play. Here, Grammer juxtaposes the natural world with the mechanized world with a revolving stage, which is turned by the robots. Because in this world the robots do everything.
The love story, says Grammer, is built on rebellion. Actors Elizabeth Evans and Trent Stephenson plays characters who bond over their hatred of a place. But it's also a story of choices. The ones you make or don't to either protect your life from destruction, or risk it for improvement. It's this universality that you see in many Ochre House shows.
"It's a really beautiful little story that equates to all of us," says Grammer. "We all make choices that are hard choices and sometimes there things we choose even though we don't want to because of the timing or the risk."
In description it might sound like a serious play, but at Ochre House everything is a bit more quirky under the surface. Plus, there's always a bit of music. Here, Trey Pendergrass underscores the play to give it what Grammer describes as a "movie feel."
See Flower in the Machine October 25 - November 15 at Ochre House Theater. Shows are at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday. Tickets are $15 and available at ochrehousetheater.com.