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There’s no need to call Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” to figure out “Geeked.” Even non-nerds can comprehend — and enjoy — Ixion Theatre’s collection of geek culture plays.
Last year, Ixion founder and artistic director Jeff Croff called for original scripts with “Geeked” as their theme. He received nearly 50 submissions, and the five chosen for this production were all winners.
My favorites were the plays that bookended the set of one-act plays. The first, “The Physics of Now” starred Richard Kopitsch and Storm Boyer. The real-life couple played boyfriend and girlfriend on the brink of discovering the equation for time travel. Time after time, I found myself chuckling at Alex Dreman’s novel script. When Steve Ledyard and Rebecca Williams appeared on the stage as the future version of the couple, my chuckles increased in a timely manner, so to speak.
The final mini-play to take the Robin Theatre stage, “What We Do,” once again had roles for Kopitsch and Boyer — this time he as über-nerd Curtis and she as Goth-queen Julia. Both actors not only changed costumes for Terry Palczewski’s play, they also dramatically changed their stage personalities.
What we did do during “What We Do” was laugh and ponder. Ralph, played with intensity by Ben Guenther, was the third character in the final performance. Besides adding to its comedy, he added levels of emotion to the play about very different people in a tech company’s waiting room. “What We Do” had gut-wrenching moments mixed with funny parts. To me, it was the most sophisticated of the five.
I found the second “Geeked” play, Scott Mullen’s “Cow,” to be the least ingenious of the collection. That is not to say “Cow” didn’t have me repeatedly mooing in approval. Jennifer Lowe, as weird-geek Quinn, and Rebecca Williams, as wacky-geek Awesome Girl, played banana-eating ladies that were totally bananas. However, I found a few of their punch lines about as clever as slipping on a banana peel.
Playwright Jack Karp won the third spot with “Superiority Complex.” Here, Kopitsch played Clark Kent/Superman and Ledyard was the therapist/bad guy, Dr. Feingold. Kopitsch was especially hilarious as the mellow, old hippie shrink who did Tai Chi moves while wearing ill-fitting clothes. , “Superiority Complex” was filled with sexual references. It went in and out, in and out, and in and out with sexual innuendos.
“Superiority Complex” also had surprise character pop-ups and a surprise ending. These pleasant interjections made up for the play’s minor faults, like when Superman incorrectly said “orthodontist” when referring to a periodontist’s job or when the doctor looked at his watchless wrist to tell time.
In the fourth spot, John Weagly’s “Betrayal Among the Grinning Gators” had geeky references to a fictional video game that nongamers might not understand. As it was, the play was still mostly understandable.
In “Betrayal,” Williams and Guenther were a twosome that shared a love for a video game that apparently involved alligators that smiled. The connected couple’s comedic game cravings facilitated content that kept the giggles and guffaws gushing — even after their conversation concluded. The last line of the play had the audience howling.
With set dressings no more complex than a couch, table and a couple of chairs, the “Geeked” compilation delighted. Everyone left with a smile — old, young, cool and geeky.
“Geeked” Ixion Theatre
8 p.m. Saturday May 20, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 21 $15/$10 adv.
Robin Theatre 1105 S.
Washington Ave., Lansing
(517) 775-4246, ixiontheatre.com