Is This a Test? – Review by Luke Dodge
“Is This a Test?” features a retired elementary school teacher who attempts to educate on the “solution” to the education system on a worldwide scale. The show starts strong by asking pointed questions of the audience, but afterward, it lost direction. There were nebulous mentions of “The Plan” and a conspiracy theory subplot about the woman being famous via YouTube and newspapers, but neither were clearly communicated. Perhaps the information was withheld to make the audience curious, but it only left this reviewer confused.
The highlight of the show was engaging spotlight speeches by a younger version of the teacher, played by a different actress, recounting historical periods of slavery and caste systems. These speeches would arise sporadically to punctuate points made in the stories of the schoolteacher. Unfortunately, these disparate parts were not working together in concert.
Buried underneath the scattered delivery are a few thought-provoking ideas and compelling arguments regarding income inequality, but the advice to “just stop believing” falls flat. There were good intentions here, with an important message at its core, but poor execution loses effect and fragments any call-to-action.
Apparently not memorized, several actors were referring to notebooks for the script and sometimes even lost their places. This theater production would have played better as a one-woman show as many of the props (and even characters) were unnecessary. Clearly a labor of love, this reviewer abhors that the show missed its mark, which hopefully will be remedied after a return to the drawing board.