“Soft Click of a Switch” Presented by MAP Theatre

You’ve encountered the loners, the outsiders, the disaffected, those whom society pushes to the margins. “Soft Click of a Switch” offers a window into the lives of two of those misfits. We’d normally ignore or steer clear of Ed and Earl, but here, under Peggy Gannon’s deft direction, we are touched by their hesitant and difficult friendship and even develop compassion for them as we watch them slip into criminal behavior.

Ed (Brandon Ryan), single, seemingly unemployed, is obsessed with doing something big. His chief interest in life is spying on his next-door neighbors, but if only he could blow something up; man what a high that would be. That would make him more than a cipher. Earl (Mark Fullerton) is a loner. Maybe married, maybe not any more, living in a new city, tied to a desk and a job that doesn’t excite him, he drinks, drinks to blot out reality.

As Earl sits drinking himself to oblivion at a bar, the intrusive Ed won’t leave him alone. Despite his efforts to rebuff Ed, Earl is drawn like a fly to the spider, not to be eaten but to be a conspirator. Alone they are nothing, together they are dynamite—literally and figuratively.MAP-SoftClick-HeadExplode

The two actors play their roles with just the right push/pull, sanity and madness, hope and depression. They are perfectly cast to play off each other, and they do it so very well. The power of friendship! Alone neither man could move beyond inertia. Together they are explosive. It’s rather frightening.

Playwright Carter W. Lewis has captured here something quite moving, even funny at times, and indeed pertinent, but he attempts a bit too much. The plot is overloaded and plays out over too long a period. The play would have been better 15 minutes shorter. Despite that, it’s theatre that you won’t easily forget.

Through Sept. 28, at West of Lenin, 203 N. 36 St. Fremont, Seattle, (All performances are pay what you can: www.map-theatre.com, www.brownpapertickets.com)

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