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Review: 'Kurt Vonnegut's Make Up Your Mind' resurrects an old work, but lacks much life

BCA ResCo - SpeakEasy Stage Company - Make Up Your Mind

Fortunately for fans everywhere, the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut remains fully intact — despite Script Assembler Nicky Silver’s futile attempt at reviving the novelist’s only (failed) attempt at a play.

Vonnegut devotees will likely agree that “Kurt Vonnegut’s Make Up Your Mind” is but a momentary hiccup in a career that birthed classics like “Cat’s Cradle,” “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “Jailbird.” Anyone else who sees SpeakEasy Stage Company’s world premiere will likely forget it even happened shortly after leaving the theater.

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There’s not much to it. It’s not a bad production, just a forgettable wisp of a play that relies on the playwright’s name to get people interested. Unfortunately, the plot is weak, lacking the intensity and imagination that makes Vonnegut who he is.

On the bright side, the characters do possess some of his trademark quirkiness, and there are funny moments and a number of laughs. But there’s no edge — its dark side feels more like sketch comedy than a fascinating exploration into the nature of being human.

Even the set, which includes a series of animated Vonnegut illustrations, feels like it somehow just misses the mark.

With a line like “loneliness is the cancer that’s killing us,” it’s clear the playwright wants to drive you to the most vulnerable place in your own heart. But here, spoken by a woman having great sex with a much younger (and poorer) man than the tycoon she married, it fails to hit that mark.

Nobody wants another Vonnegut work to surface more than his legions of fans, but, alas, “Make Up Your Mind” is one that was best left untouched and intact, deep in his considerable archives.

If you go

Through Nov. 30
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St., Boston
Starting at $25
617-933-8600
SpeakEasyStage.com

 
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