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A CurtainUp Review
At the very beginning of Capture Now, Josh Jonas compares his one-man show to Shakespeare.s Romeo and Juliet, which his hero, a teenager named Elijah, once read in seventh grade English: "And just like Romeo and Juliet , I didn't know then what I know now; that by the end of this story my brother's not gonna make it. But we are gonna go nuts for each other."
Unfortunately, not only does Capture Now lack the suspense of Romeo and Juliet (after all, Elijah has already spilled the beans), it also lacks anything close to Shakespeare.s masterful use of poetry. With line like, "And she looked up, and her perfectly painted eyes weren't so painted anymore, and it just made her look even better," this isn't much more than an overly long one-man soap opera (although it could have been shorter if the author had merely removed the words "just" and "cuz").
The play is directed by Larry Moss, who keeps Jonas jumping on and off a stool (that and an "Open" sign are the only elements of a set on stage) and running around for no apparent reason other than to give a static, one-dimensional and tired plot some feeling of movement. But Jonas.s busyness is as false as its Jewishness ("And something I realized, was that Jews from Long Island, which is what we were, SUCK ASS at naming prophets," Elijah informs the audience at the very beginning of the play). His characters may be Jewish, but they certainly don't sound Jewish. What town in Long Island did Jonas grow up in, one wonders. Or does he merely have a tin ear?
Jonas plays not only Elijah, the young hero, but also Elijah.s parents, teachers, various girlfriends and, of course, his younger brother, Ace, whom he makes sound not like a child but rather like someone suffering from a developmental disorder. None of these characters are particularly interesting or well differentiated. Their lines are all either gooey or self-consciously hip.
It seems that Jonas never saw a cliché he didn't like and want to put to use. In Capture Now one finds not only the younger brother with uncanny insight; but also the inarticulate father who resorts to violence when confronted by his son; the sexy but virginal girlfriend; the cool, unconventional teacher.
Death can surely be dramatic but only when it is accompanied by a meaningful plot, complex characterization, and a theme that expresses real rather than packaged emotions and thoughts. Capture Now has little of the above. It is a manipulative drama not terribly well acted by a young man who may be playing an adolescent but surely is old enough to know better.