The Flick

DREW HERMAN/KDM

The cast of “The Flick” watches a movie, clockwise from back left, Elizabeth Bendiz-Harper, Dianne Ibarra, Franco Nero and Jeffrey Huntley.

Movie posters, “Apocalypse Now” and “Silence of the Lambs” among them, hang on walls of the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium choral pod this week, setting the “stage” for FairWind Players production of “The Flick.”

Jeff Huntley plays Sam, a 36-year-old Red Sox fan who wonders if he’ll work in the movie theater forever. Huntley said his character has “mixed taste” in movies and his favorite is “Avatar.”

“He likes good movies, but he’s not like a film snob,” Huntley said of Sam. “He doesn’t know French films or, like, the Criterion Collection — that’s Avery’s thing.”

Avery is played by Franco Nero, a student at Kodiak College in his first dramatic role after appearances in musical theater. Dianne Ibarra and Elizabeth Bendix-Harper play Rose and Scarlett.

Nero has become a fan of “Pulp Fiction,” Quentin Tarantino’s poetic and violent 1999 masterpiece, since he began preparing to play Avery, a hyper-educated film snob with a broom in his hands.

“I’ve watched it, maybe five times all the way through,” Nero said, when Bendix-Harper playfully interrupted.

“Yeah, and how many times have you watched the Sam Jackson clip?” she asked.

“Oh. A lot…” Nero said, nodding. 

Reviews of “The Flick” since its 2013 opening in New York show the characters have ambitions and the script takes the imagination beyond the dreariness of their seemingly dead-end jobs.

Readers may have heard the film buff-centric drama can be challenging for audiences and was controversial when it debuted. But it’s probably not for reasons that might first come to mind.

It’s because productions of Annie Baker’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner can run long. Some have run about three hours, with protracted silences among the characters as they clean a Massachusetts movie theater. Reviewers have described the action, or lack of action, as “hyper-realistic.”

That’s what stirred controversy during the initial Off-Broadway run of “The Flick” in 2013. Baker’s script forced people to wait, as we often do in real life, for the next enlightening thing to happen.

In a 2014 article in the New York Times, Baker said, “I’m just trying to accurately portray the people who live in the movie theater inside my head, and I guess there’s a lot of moments of not-talking in that movie theater inside my head. All the walking and sweeping and mopping and dustpan-banging … .” 

Kodiak director Jared Griffin has compressed the play to about two-and-a-half hours for its three-night run this week. He has also taken a cue from other community theaters by seating his audience on stage and moving the actors about the steeply raked floor of permanent seats in the choral pod. The characters will clean up after a film screening, and the story contrasts their dreary minimum-wage jobs with their hopes, ambitions and the magic of the movies they love.

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