Starting a play in the middle of a story is usually a good strategy. The action starts right away and the audience discovers what happened in the past as the story goes along. However, in the case of hang, the backstory is revealed too slowly. The dialog is so vague and uninformative. The two government employees use so many pronouns and skip key words that it becomes irritating. Also, on this opening performance, about a third of the audience is laughing hysterically. This is because they know what is happening. Without having to struggle to figure out the situation, they are able to laugh at the performances. And so now, a small plot point will be revealed. It’s a fact that is not revealed until the second half of the play that should have been revealed much earlier.
The woman is being asked to decide which form of capital punishment should be used for a specific man. With this information, the entire play will be an enjoyable dark comedy. Without it, only the part of the play after this is revealed is funny.
This information raises many questions. Where in the world is this play taking place? The UK abolished capital punishment in 1965. In the US, lethal injection is mostly the sole method. In a few states, the prisoner may choose another option such as lethal gas or electrocution. So, then the question is, when is this story taking place? Is this some dystopian future? These questions definitely will inspire conversations after seeing this show.
The cast does an excellent job. Annabel Armour is hilarious as the bumbling government employee constantly making mistakes. Eleni Pappageorge is superb as the boss who is always scalding the other employee for messing up. She embodies the idea of a corporate bureaucratic mess. Lastly, Patrese D. McClain is fantastic as the woman who has to make the big decision. She successfully plays it straight in the face of the infuriating nonsense the other two are dealing out.
Get tickets now for hang through April 29th!