In which I review a groundbreaking play
So goes the title of this slice of mid-aughts theatrical life—written by Sam Puckett, performed to intriguing effect by the playwright and her co-star Carly Shay on an episode of their equally iconic web series “iCarly.” The production is short and sweet, as was the playwright’s probable intention, consisting of one thrice-repeated exchange:
“Just gimme some soup!”
“I ain’t gonna give you no soup!”
Each repetition is so nuanced and subtle that the whole requires multiple observations to appreciate to its fullest extent. Puckett’s star turn as the wayward soup seeker is gritty, grating, and single-minded, while Shay’s mannerisms as the individual vested with the power to grant soup (for whatever reason) suggest that the very idea of a prisoner requesting soup is worthy of mockery. That both these roles are male in nature but originated by women upends any traditional notions of gender, representing—dare we say it—the forward-thinking ideals of the young generation. As for the premise, we the audience are left to puzzle over the missing pieces. What has the prisoner done to deserve his sentence? Just who is this ‘man’? Are we to presume that he would have been called a guard if he were such? And yet, if he exists unattached to the prison industrial complex, how would the prisoner have come across him? Perhaps we catch a glimpse of the pair in medias res, with some elaborate escape scheme underway at whose details we can only guess. Indeed, the beauty of this piece lies in its minimalism, leaving us with as many questions as answers.
Puckett remarked on air that the teacher who had assigned the work awarded it a D+. Grades, however, have proven wanting as arbiters of true influence. Even head tech Freddie Benson, known to share an antagonistic relationship with Puckett, was seen to be enjoying himself and the players during filming. No doubt there is a creative force here to be reckoned with, or at least to keep an eye on.
Image: Puckett (left, as portrayed by Jennette McCurdy) and Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), from Common Sense Media