Playwright Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous), a mythical and mystical tracing of immigrants’ hardships and journeys, is the perfect vehicle for one of the region’s most creative, visionary design and technical teams.
The Falcon’s Eye Theatre’s production team, under the tutelage of director David Harris, elevates every theater offering at the small stage at Folsom Lake College’s Harris Center for the Arts with imaginative and technically innovative staging. Their newest offering is no exception. We’re talking about realistic and fantastical ocean voyages, sandy beaches, train trips, street scenes, sweatshops and sewers—all enhanced by scene designs that incorporate film, photos, gauzy curtains, dramatic lighting and sound, and clever sets and costumes.
It helps when the play selection lends itself to such artistic endeavors. In Anon(ymous), Iizaka presents a modern version of Homer’s The Odyssey as she traces one teen’s voyage from an unidentified war-torn country to the US, with all the hopes, dreams, dramas and traumas that immigrants haul around with them. The main character Anon (a sympathetic and engaging Ethan Fox) represents all immigrants, as he encounters various characters and choruses on his quest of discover and heartache—all portrayed by a talented and varied cast.
The re-imagined Odyssey journey works the majority of time, mixing realism with mysticism, moving the story along through the various challenges that Anon stumbles into along the way. There are a couple missteps in the play that feel forced by following the classic plot, most notably a strange and violent butcher shop scene that doesn’t match the spirit or tempo of the rest of the play.
But on the whole, Anon(ymous) not only presents the issues of immigrants in an imaginative and thought-provoking way, it also opens the door for the talented production team at Falcon’s Eye Theatre to shine once again.