Entertainment » Theatre

It’s a Spaceship Now

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 25, 2013
Stuart Wilson in ’Spaceship’
Stuart Wilson in ’Spaceship’  

Solo (one man or woman) shows are a challenge for even the most gifted and seasoned of performers, because not only must the individual possess what is known as stage presence, he or she also has to keep the audience engaged with how he reacts to what are seemingly his own words. A tall order, yes, but the remarkably talented Stuart Wilson, who does double-duty as both the writer and performer of The Wilbury Group's "It's a Spaceship Now," need not worry.

Presented as part of The Wilbury Group's New Works Development program and directed by Susie Schutt, Wilson's "Spaceship" invites the audience into the tiny, cluttered living quarters of Stu, an unapologetic underachiever. Clad in second-hand attire and boastful of his dumpster diving adventures for food and other amenities, Stu is especially proud of the remains of a missile that occupy a formidable share of visible space from his humble abode.

While it certainly makes for an interesting story -- one of many told by our host during the show's 90-minute running time -- how the missile ended up in his backyard is not as significant as the timeline of events set in motion as a result. Desperate to make his mechanical engineer dad proud and eager to one-up his brother ("the smart one"), Stu is now determined to travel into space -- an idea that first came to him as a young boy, around the time his parents split up and when he became an ardent fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

The remarkably talented Stuart Wilson’s "Spaceship" invites the audience into the tiny, cluttered living quarters of Stu, an unapologetic underachiever.

Stu possesses a boundless curiosity and child-like exuberance, complemented by Wilson's fervent imagination and incorrigible likability. To help us get better acquainted, the aspiring astronaut invites audience members to join him for a cup of French-pressed coffee, participate in a sing-along, and just to ensure everyone is on track, he'll occasionally call attention to the name and number of each scene, as indicated on the paper tabs earlier distributed among the crowd.

In addition to the musical numbers, costume changes and his compulsive recitation of various checklists, Stu also appears on screen, abruptly and unexpectedly as an egotistical news reporter, and in an amusing series of montages that illustrate his unconventional creative and constructive process.

Whether or not Stu succeeds at what he has set forth to accomplish, he is well deserving of our gratitude for inviting us along for the ride. "It's a Spaceship Now" is an immeasurably fun, interactive night of theater where you'll leave feeling like you've made a new friend.

"It's a Spaceship Now" runs through June 29 at the South Side Cultural Center, 393 Broad Street, Providence. For tickets and info, call 401-400-1700 or visit The Wilbury Theatre Group's website.

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.


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