The ultimate choice of personal happiness over the happiness of those you love is a main focus of The LAB! Theatre production of “Jon.”
The show, which opened Thursday, is the company’s second production of its LAB!oratory second stage series.
Time: 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 5 p.m. Monday
Location: Center for Dramatic Art
Based on a short story by George Saunders, “Jon” is set in a dystopian world where teenagers are sequestered in market research facilities.
Jon and Carolyn, husband and wife, test advertisements and products for a living.
When Carolyn becomes pregnant, she decides their child should not be raised in their sterile, market environment and is determined to leave — with or without Jon.
Junior Jordan Imbrey, director of the show, said “Jon” is both a love story and a story of personal change.
“It’s about their decisions to be ready to leave,” he said.
Imbrey said the characters only think of the world in terms of advertising.
“They’re convinced they have the best life possible because they get to use their own products,” Imbrey said.
“The audience gets the sense that they’re trapped, but it doesn’t occur to the characters until much later in the story.”
Imbrey said he thinks Carolyn, portrayed by Kayla Gibson, is the most interesting character in the story.
Gibson said Carolyn is not easily influenced by Jon.
“She cares a lot for Jon and her baby, and she just wants what’s best for them — even if that means leaving him,” she said.
“I hope they see that it’s OK to be independent and you don’t always need to have that male figure making decisions for you,” she said.
“I hope that they see that you should go for what you want.”
Gibson said the act of decision-making is a central aspect of the show.
“It’s about making the right choices and going with your heart and not with what other people want you to do or to be,” she said.
Paul Hovey portrays Larry Slippen, a coordinator at the fictional facility who acts as a father figure.
“He’s looking out for the main characters,” Hovey said.
Hovey said the script has proved challenging for the actors.
“It’s almost like stream of conscious,” he said. “The characters just say whatever is on their mind in this weird slang.”
Still, Imbrey said the structure of the story makes it more enjoyable.
“There is more than one central message you can bring to this,” he said. “The way the story makes you think is a little personal for every person.”
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