Off-Broadway Review: Ice Factory’s “The Anthropologists Save the World!” at the New Ohio Theatre

Off-Broadway Review: Ice Factory Festival’s “The Anthropologists Save the World!” at New Ohio Theatre (Closed Saturday July 29, 2017)
Conceived by The Anthropologists
Directed by Melissa Moschitto
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Part I of Ice Factory Festival’s “The Anthropologists Save the World!” currently running at New Ohio Theatre, is entitled “The Lecture” and begins with the announcement of a lecture by utopian novelist Aldous Huxley (unfortunately not named in the program). Huxley begins to expound about “Man and the Potentialities for Human Change.” Sue, the absent member of the smoker’s cessation group, has instructed Huxley (resurrected?) to address the group. The lecture part of the “Lecture” is somewhat engaging: the unidentified (baffling) actor delivers Huxley’s ideas in a deadpan but interesting fashion. At first, he lectures to an empty room, then he is interrupted by the group members as they enter for their session. That is when things begin to fall apart in “The Anthropologists Save the World” and there is no recovery through the remainder of “The Lecture” nor in Parts II and III of the performance.

It is difficult to make what is obvious interesting. And that might be the main problem with the Anthropologists’ efforts here. They have not managed to find a new way to negotiate their way through the moral and political problems of the day with any fresh insights.

The cast and creative team work hard to make it work; however, ultimately, the endeavor does not measure up. The characters are not interesting nor are their conflicts. It is impossible, therefore to drive any captivating plot lines. Certainly, there is no opportunity for catharsis.