Unicorn Theatre premieres ‘Lasso of Truth’

Frank Lillig

Have you accepted Wonder Woman into your heart?  Carson Kreitzer most certainly has.  She is the playwright of “Lasso of Truth,” a play about the origins of Wonder Woman, the Amazonian warrior princess superheroine.  This sparkling story was made even more brilliant with its gem of a cast, directed by Johnny Wolfe.  Martin Buchanan played the inventor of Wonder Woman, and incidentally the lie detector, William Moulton Marston.  UMKC’s Carla Noack played the wife of Marston and Vanessa Severo played the Amazon, Marston’s mistress.  The extended cast included UMKC MFA students Laura Jacobs and Jamie Dufault as Girl and Guy.

The overall plot was a little disjointed and jumpy.  Like the pages of a comic book it flashed through the separate stories abruptly.  Some of the scenes were short which intensified the feel of a graphic novel.  However, each of the actors did a tremendous job interpreting the play and so that it made sense.  Severo, who recently starred in KC Rep’s “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike,” is usually seen as the quirky hilarious girl. However, she had the opportunity this time to play the vixen, and she made it look like something she has done a million times.  Noack, an acting professor here at UMKC, performed exactly what she teaches and displayed her skills very confidently and evocatively.  Buchanan, who played Marston, made it easy to understand the disappointment and sentiment which was entangled with his desire to create something amazing for the world.

The stage was built to resemble the panels of a comic book and utilized hidden doors and portals.  Projections, by UMKC graduate student Matt Mott, illustrated conversation boxes and panels to move the story along and served as a great tool for putting the play into the perspective of a pulp novel.  Sound design, by UMKC graduate student Sarah Putts, melded amazingly with Mott’s projections and deepened the sensation of seeing a comic book acted out on stage.  The Unicorn’s “Lasso of Truth” was a highly technical production and everyone’s artistry stood out on and off stage.  The story may be a little hard to follow but the actors and designers certainly made it easier. Contrarily, there was a prevalent case of audience whiplash. Action continuously flashed from one side of the stage to the other side and then back again.

Overall, the show was very enjoyable.  It is easily worth seeing more than once. However, sadly, this rolling premiere ended Sunday, Feb. 15.  If you are ever around and happen to be near a theatre which is showing ”Lasso of Truth,” be sure to wrangle a few friends together and go see it.