By Alan Jozwiak
Who wouldn’t want to live years beyond their lifespan, to be able to spend your time with loved ones who were slighted from constant work demands?
This is an enticing prospect and one that is explored in Falcon Theatre’s latest production, Two Point OH by Jeffrey Jackson.
The Plot of Two Point OH
Two Point OH tells the story of billionaire software giant Elliott Leeds (Phineas Clark), whose private jet crashes while he is arguing with his wife Melanie (Zoe Peterson) over whether the time is right to start a family. Elliott is killed, but an AI computer simulation of Elliott is left to comfort the bereaved Melanie. The computer simulation does such a good job in that task that it wants to interact with other close people whom Elliott Leeds knew, including his business partner at Paradigm Software Ben Robbins (Daniel Anderson). More details will spoil the plot.
Director Steve Phelan opts for a sparse set, splurging only with a large screen television where the AI version of Elliott Leeds (also played by Phineas Clark) interacts with those around him. In this production, Phelan emphasizes the human in this play. Phelan uses this sparseness to stage human interactions without any distractions. He does a good job allowing the audience to enter this world to see the frustrations and aspirations of these characters.
Phineas Clark does a great job playing an AI simulation of the billionaire Elliott Leeds. For the entire play, Clark has to interact with the rest of the cast remotely through a video link. Clark plays the AI Elliott Leeds with subtlety, expressing changes in his character through microexpressions as small as an eyebrow raise. He plays the AI simulation with total conviction and honesty, an impressive acting feat.
Zoe Peterson as Melanie Leeds also has a challenging job within this play. She takes over for Rachel Mock, who tested positive for COVID three days before the show opened. (Mock will resume her role for the last two weekends.) Peterson’s acting is solid; she is able to convey the grief and confusion coming from her character as she processes her loss.
Daniel Anderson is convincing as Leeds’ business partner Ben Robbins. He provides some humorous moments to offset the seriousness of the situation, while also being a moral compass in the play. Anderson is the one who question the rightness of the AI computer simulation of Leeds, as well as trying to do what is right concerning the simulation at the end of the play.
Rounding out the cast is Samantha Joy Luhn as Paradigm Software’s newest CEO and Liz Carman as the host of The Straight Story, who narrates some of the latest developments in the story of the AI Elliott Leeds. Both Luhn and Carman deliver lots of comedy in their performances. Luhn’s drunk scene in Act II is priceless, as well as Carman’s reaction to the AI Simulation Elliott Leeds crashing her live show.
The performance I attended during opening weekend was a little rough around the edges, something to be expected when an actor playing a major character gets slotted in at the last minute. However, this show is thought-provoking and engaging enough to overlook these minor issues.
I recommend this show because it raises a lot of issues which we will be dealing with soon enough. Two Point OH is a human story about artificial intelligence.
Tickets to Two Point OH
For more information on tickets to Falcon’s production of Two Point OH, click here. It runs through Dec. 2.
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