Director Anne Kauffman’s “Smokefall” is a play not like any other. It is a play that will leave you feeling shocked, delighted, slightly confused, yet very much entertained. The play focuses on how one choice can change the course of a person’s life.
The plot of “Smokefall” was a very tricky one to follow. It goes from the present, to the future, and it ends with the past. It starts by introducing a “traditional” household, one with a mother (Violet), father (Daniel), daughter (Beauty), and a grandfather (the Colonel). Right from the start we know that the family is having issues. The parents are constantly fighting, Beauty doesn’t talk, and the Colonel won’t let go of the memory of his dead wife. Violet is expecting twin boys, yet her husband isn’t particularly happy about it. The story follows the lives of the people in this household.
As a whole, this play was one that impressed me very much. It had a very dramatic flair to it; however, it still managed to retain a comic appeal. At times it had the crowd roaring with laughter, but at other times the audience was left heavyhearted at the tragedies that occurred all throughout the play. The play’s plot was like a breath of fresh air. Never had I ever seen or read anything like this particular play. It made me actually have to think all throughout it. I was entertained and at the edge of my seat awaiting the next scene. Although I had some difficulty with the plot, as many did, what helped me were the footnotes that were said throughout the play. The footnotes told the audience what was happening or had occurred over time. These footnotes, which I had never heard of before except in books, truly, helped me, as well as others, understand the complex plot. Another thing that I particularly liked was the actors’ phenomenal performances. Although there were only four main actors, they were all able to act out different roles. They could go from having a melancholic air to them to being very jubilant. A prime example of this is when actor Guy Massey went from being the serious person who said the footnotes to being a hilarious fetus, who was slightly fearful of entering the world of the living. These actors added to the play’s experience and helped set the mood for the happy or depressing events. The play as a whole was something that people could relate to-not entirely, but to some extent. For instance, one could relate to the struggles of facing tough situations, like the twins in the womb did. This play as a whole gave the audience something to think about.
Although the play was entertaining, it did have its flaws. As I had previously mentioned, the plot was very confusing. It would jump from scene to scene and it was difficult for the audience to understand whether the play scene was in the past, present, or future. And since the actors acted out different roles through the play, I wasn’t sure which particular characters they were impersonating at a specific time. I noticed that this was what mostly confused the audience. If there were different actors acting out the different roles then the play would have been easier to comprehend.
All in all, this play left me wanting more. I felt the plot was like a puzzle that I had to decipher, so it was entertaining. I would gladly watch the play again in order to spend my time in an interesting manner and to be able to better understand it. This is a play I would recommend to anyone who likes complicated storylines.