Barefooted Truth Apr 29, 2016
by Parker Matias
The words “let go,” sends five girls, ages nine and ten, into a surreal routine. What must be meticulously choreographed, seems somehow loose and reminiscent. One girl dances as if completely alone, twirling and waving her arms gracefully. The others run back and forth across the tiny stage, arms locked, unified as one. They trade giggles and grins as they jostle up and down. This scene is beautiful.
Besides the laughter, the only sounds are the slapping of bare feet on the stage floor, like rain on thick windowpane. Rows of tulips, or the gentle sway of a willow branch in the wind. A robin crossing my vision, alighting and settling. The acting is pure: intentionally unintentional. At its best, Employee of the Year achieves the delicate beauty of nature itself.
The breathless monologues of loss and discovery, tragedy and introspection, capitalized by thick silence, are gripped with tension. The story builds in familial complexity only to evaporate in an overwhelming glow of joy. The age of these actresses is the troupe’s greatest weapon. At some point, we lose our ability to effortlessly imagine. These girls lose themselves on stage. It is real. They are real. They giggle. They breathe when they sing. They cough when their throats dry up. The long, intensely observant, monologues and narration almost feel like instant creation within their simple square of light. There is no script – this is ecstatic, imaginative, off-the-cuff storytelling. This is see and say. Feel and react.
Parker Matias is a senior at Skyline High School in Sammamish. He plans to attend Seattle University in the fall of 2016 to study English. Parker’s artistic influences include Jack Kerouac and Kanye West. When he’s in Seattle, his favorite thing to do is attend a laser light show at the Pacific Science Center. Parker is a member of TeenTix, a youth empowerment + art access organization that makes it possible for any teenager to see almost any arts event at their 64 partner organizations for $5, day-of-show. On the Boards is proud to be a TeenTix partner!