Marble Cities is the new play that was created and produced by Cleveland's Theater Ninjas. And while it is a play, it's also an experience, because it's very much an assault on your attention span. This is not a play to go see if you want to sit back and relax. This is one that, from the very first moment, grabs you , and doesn't merely not let you go, but flings you around.
The amount of dialogue that comes at you, while being informative, is almost mind-numbing in its quantity. But that's a lot of why it's there. I don't think the audience is supposed to fully grasp what the characters are saying. I don't think the audience can fully grasp everything that's said.
There are eight characters, and all of them have been given an invitation to attend this gathering - except for one, who may be a moderator or may be something more. But the other seven have been tasked with creating/building a civilization from the ground up. But each of the characters is flawed and while their flaws may make things interesting, they also make their relationship strained at best.
And, really, that's my best guess at what's happening. Explaining the "story" of the play is not what's important. What's important in Marble Cities are ideas. And there are plenty thrown around. If you have a theory as to why we're here, it's given a voice. If you have a theory on social politics, it's here. If you have a theory about nearly anything, it's probably here. Each one of the characters represents a different social class, and each of the characters is given a specific voice. I don't think we're supposed to pick a side, but we're they're to listen, because by listening, it gives credence to what the characters say.
This is a captivating and complicated piece. This is a play, that in order to keep up, you have to be willing to let stuff go. If you dwell too long on any one sentence, you've already missed a half dozen other ideas. If there's any complaint, it's that the play has too much going on. Even half the ideas within are more than enough to sustain a whole play. But who am I to say that something's too ambitious? If anything, at least the actors are uniformly amazing. They give this piece their complete attention. If any of them had given any less than their all, the play would have suffered. But by the end, each of the actors had really imbued each of their characters with realism, intelligence, and sympathy, and that alone makes this worth seeing.
There's one more week's worth of shows - Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I may not be able to explain what's happening, but I definitely think it's worth seeing.