Mustard Seed Theatre opened their run of Remnant, by Ron Reed, on Thursday, December 7th.
The company ran this show for the first time in 2006. With a cast of five, it spins an intriguing tale of a post-apocalyptic world. Taking place on one night–what present time knows as Christmas night–it allows the audience to imagine what might become of our civilization and traditions, should society ever crumble from a catastrophic event, in this case, a “Great Plague.”Hands down, the best two things about this production are the rococo set and the creativity of the story. Almost theatre-in-the-round, the set is floor-level. No stage. The audience sits fully surrounding the cast. It was very cool to be so up close and personal.
This story is perfect if you love Christmas plays but are burnt out on the same traditional story. In this production, there is joy but there is also a lot of danger and fear. The cast must tackle the challenge of portraying a civilization that is perhaps hundreds of years from existing. They dress differently, speak differently, and co-exist differently than what our present civilization understands. They do a nice job.
The biggest disconnect in the production is the language. It is a broken speech, reminiscent of modern speech, but suggesting that grammar and conjugation have been slowly lost. These people have grown up with little to no schooling. If you can handle Shakespeare, you can handle this, but you will have to listen very closely. A few jokes may get lost on you. Also, there are a few St. Louis-specific jokes thrown in, even in the costumes. So, should you be taking a friend or family member in town for the holidays, they may be a tad lost when the crowd is laughing.
Each actor portrays a sweet innocence that makes their character sympathetic; particularly Adam Flores’ “Loner.” You will have moments of deep concern for him.
The conclusion of the play was endearing, although, it was a bit predictable. Perhaps to be expected, considering that it is a story dealing with the timeless issue in society of the “true meaning of Christmas.”
Overall, if you are looking for a deviation from the run-of-the-mill Ebenezer Scrooge story, this show is a good fit for you.
Remnant runs through December 23rd at Mustard Seed Theatre.