“Recall” is one of those plays that telegraphs everything it‚Äôs about to do, and then it does it. The only element that‚Äôs at all intriguing is the title. The word itself usually connotes a memory that has returned to a person‚Äôs consciousness. Or what you do on the telephone after you‚Äôve gotten a busy signal. In the case of playwright Eliza Clark‚Äôs confusing off-Broadway import, however, it refers to what the manufacturer does with cars that are defective.
Only in this case it isn‚Äôt cars that are defective. It‚Äôs people.
But we don‚Äôt know who is monitoring them or recalling them. Or why.
Certainly, Lucy (Madeline Bertani), a violent, vituperative teen-age psychopath would seem to be a good candidate for recall. But she isn‚Äôt even on “the list.”
Her boyfriend Quinn (Kevin Grossman) is, however, although he exhibits nothing more serious than a sense of alienation and “otherness.”
Lucy‚Äôs mother, Justine (Karen Nicole), is a ditzy actress who can‚Äôt get her love life in order. She drifts from one man to another as easily as she moves from one sleazy dwelling place to the next.
As the play opens she and Lucy are preparing to flee from yet another motel room, and while Justine is getting their things together, Lucy is on her knees trying to scrub a humongous bloodstain out of the rug.
The two are befriended by a mysterious stranger, David (Mark Souza), who offers them shelter in a safe house that he runs, and he goes on living with them there. The play hints that he has some kind of official assignment ‚Äî is it to “monitor” the two women? But meanwhile, he has dreams that leave him writhing and screaming in the night.
Oh, and did I mention that Justine has witchy talents that she uses to wipe away a person‚Äôs memories (so that they can‚Äôt “recall” them)?
I apologize for revealing so much of the plot, but I‚Äôve only dealt with some of the questions that the plot introduces. I haven‚Äôt revealed any of the answers because, unfortunately, there are none.
Described as a “science fiction thriller,” this play is neither science fiction nor thrilling. It‚Äôs not even creepy. Set in some kind of weird near-future, it isn‚Äôt a nice place to visit, and you certainly wouldn‚Äôt want to live there.
“Recall,” presented by The Visceral Company, is directed by Dan Sturgeon at the Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave. in Hollywood.
It runs for 85 minutes, without an intermission, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., through May 4. For tickets, visit thevisceralcompany.com.
Cynthia Citron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.