Steve Yockey's thought-provoking and disturbing new play Pluto is receiving an exceptional production from Stray Cat Theatre. It is a deeply sad and slightly confusing, yet well-crafted piece of drama with a superb cast that delivers an emotional punch. Pluto shows an alternate view of the victims of a specific type of horrific event that happens too often these days—school shootings—and the impact on those who are affected by it, and who are left to pick up the pieces afterwards. Not everything about Pluto is clear. You may be unsure about the meaning of specific images or events in the play, or slightly upset about some of the things that happen, but it will get you thinking, which is one of the greatest things about theatre.
To say very much about the plot or the characters risks taking away the emotional impact and joy of discovery Yockey has imbedded into his play. All you need to know is that single mother Elizabeth and her struggling college aged son Bailey try to go about the ordinary tasks of morning life in the kitchen of their house. While Elizabeth keeps claiming that she just wants today to be a normal day, it is anything but. Her watch has stopped at 9:30 am and she and Bailey are continually threatened by various people who try to get into the kitchen and radio announcements that seem to only broadcast news of a school shooting that are specifically personalized for Elizabeth. Oh, and there's that cherry blossom tree that's upside down in the room, apparently dropped, we learn, by a character we will meet later; a three-headed talking dog; and a refrigerator that has a problem standing still. While those items seem confusing, pay attention as Yockey slowly finds a way to connect them all. Though, to be honest, I'm still uncertain why a certain character is dressed in a deep sea diving outfit.
Although it has tender performances, clear direction, and well-paced revelations, Pluto at Stray Cat may not be for everyone due to the subject matter. For anyone who wants to experience a thought-provoking play that makes you ponder and question your preconceived notions about gun violence, Pluto is highly recommended.
THIS IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL REVIEW - READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY BELOW