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Not a Peep

August 22, 2010

My photo of the Not a Peep program.

IndyFringe started last night and Mass Ave. was hopping.  As I walked down the street, there was a moment where I felt like I’d been transported to New York or Chicago with the architecture, the smells, and eclectic people.  It was a nice feeling.

I chose to see Not a Peep at Theatre on the Square , which was performed by members of ShadowApe Theatre Company.  The fact that this was a local troupe of performers appealed to me because I love seeing how Indianapolis has grown as a community of artists and entertainers.  Events such as First Friday, Penrod, and IndyFringe show how Indianapolis has grown up as a city from the time when I was a child.  Not only is Indianapolis a great place for sports but it is also a thriving (and still growing) venue for the arts.

So let me start by saying that I highly recommend Not a Peep.  It was a fun performance starring Constance Macy, Jennifer Johansen, and Ben Tebbe that ended a little too quickly.  By the picture on the ad and program you would assume this has something to do with the Easter marshmallow treats called Peeps.  On the other hand since the picture of the Peep has a red circle and line through it, you might assume it has nothing to do with Peeps.  Either way, you’re probably right.

While yellow bunny Peeps were featured and fought over, they really had very little to do with the show.  In fact, the real “peep” in the title appears to refer to the lack of dialogue in the performance.  At first I thought this would be an actors dream to not have to memorize any lines, but as the show took form I reconsidered as the actors took cues from typing, tapping, and ten keying.

From the very beginning the audience responded with laughter.  It took me a little longer to join in.  I found the beginning amusing and entertaining, but not particularly laugh out loud.  Shortly thereafter, I joined in as the battle over the last Peep ensued.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I will tell you there is a Mexican Standoff with staplers at one point in the show.

I found that the show had a lot to say about how people interact and relate to one another.  In the office setting we are forced to coexist in close quarters and accept our co-workers habits and eccentricities.  In Not a Peep one character is longing to connect with her co-workers while another is obsessed with her fear of bacteria and need to exercise.  The lone male in the performance, Tebbe, is a bit of a slob who pounds down sodas, candy, and of course Peeps.  In fact, he literally worships Peeps.  Throughout the production, I couldn’t help but wonder what annoying habits I have that are driving my co-workers crazy.

The second sketch of the evening portrayed a world of people controlled by their cell phones.  Every step they took was directed by the electronic voice inside their phone and that voice encouraged the characters to pursue more electronics resulting in being less connected.  The irony of course is that more we’re connected through these wonderful technologies (smart phones, social media, etc.), the less we are truly connected.  I spoke a little about this in a recent post.

All this is to say that Not a Peep was entertaining.  Although too short, I guess it adhered to the adage that you should always leave them wanting more.  As for it being kid friendly, I would say that it truly is.  I would also say that it is not particularly a kids type of show.  I think the office setting is more relateable for working adults, but I figure the physical comedy that ensues would definitely appeal to the kids.  Since there really wasn’t any dialogue, there definitely wasn’t any language unsuitable for kids.

So go and check out Not a Peep and then do just the opposite.  Peep to everyone you know about Not a Peep and IndyFringe.  It will be good for you and the community.

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