By Thomas Brandon
Azure Lorica’s Journey Seekers: A Steampunk Adventure is debuting at the Whitmore-Lindley Theater in North Hollywood. An original piece written by Eugene Docena and director Stefanie Warner, the play is a foray into the modern Steampunk movement. Often cited as a sub-genre of science fiction, Steampunk combines the zeitgeist of the Victorian era with a speculative future tinged with fantasy.
Within this framework, it is easy to admire the enthusiasm that Journey Seekers displays. The earnest attempt to marry fairy tale with a spirit of innovation is ambitious, and the play is refreshingly un-cynical in its aims. Unfortunately, the execution of those goals is plagued by narrative aimlessness and a decidedly cluttered visual style.
The story centers on three strangers (Davis Wyn, Josh Polizzi, and Kate Del Rosario), each a stowaway aboard the legendary Black Basilisk, a speed train rumored to be run by ghosts. The three stowaways forge an alliance as they try to avoid the otherworldly Conductor (Michael Heiman) long enough to make it to the coast. The destination is not as important as the realization that the characters, including the Conductor and his “Doll” (Aeiszka Sea), are all running away from something.
The potential for creating an inspiring myth out of these elements is present, but never fully coalesces. In a play with unstoppable trains and amazing feats of automated invention, the action is contained to two modest locations and several overly-long conversations. The play could have shown us wonders, but instead just tells us about them.
“Journey Seekers: A Steampunk Adventure” is at the Whitmore-Lindley Theater Center (11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood). Performances are April 9-10 and 16-17 at 8 p.m., and April 11 and 18 at 7 p.m. General admission is $18 with various discounts available. To order tickets call (866) 811-4111 or visit www.theatermania.com.