On Paul Budraitis' (IN)STABILITY Feb 5, 2011

by Marya Sea Kaminski

This show is filled with reflective surfaces, on stage and in the text. Light bounces off aluminum creating atmosphere and focus, the back wall ripples with reflections from a pool (a sewer? Puget Sound?) agitated with pennies and movement. Broken glass absorbs what is thrown at it. The light design of this show is breathtaking (L.B. Morse is of course responsible), the set is tactile and textured creating tension and metaphor before any action takes place, the performer is earnest and agile and the text is eerily familiar. It reflects us, not only in the direct address that Paul executes with dexterous charm, but because we've heard these stories before, thought these thoughts, pondered  these images - the slow death of the commuter bus dulled by the dampening of earbuds, the potential epiphany of connecting with a mysterious stranger on the city streets, the profound presence of sharing a conscious silent moment. These ideas are familiar but, as the narrator attests early on in the evening, "some things bear repeating." I am struck by the earnestness of this work. Paul Budraitis is all kinetic energy, surrounded by the potential assault of a hundred knives onstage, but he is not cynical. He looks us in the eye. He tells us to yes, ask "what is the deepest truth of human existence?" and he tells us we are qualified to answer. He challenges us to lean forward into hope and happiness. He convinces us to trust him. And then he reminds us that, though the world may be beautiful, in the end it is not safe.

- Marya Sea Kaminski