Review of "Chipping Smooth" at Future Tenant


Photo Credit: Kristen Gigliotti

In the final event for the Future Tenant January series, Pinnacle Production performed “Chipping Smooth” starring Point Park students Julia Maxwell and John McGovern. “Chipping Smooth” is a multimedia performance written by Mary Ehrlicher, who traveled via Grayhound from over ten hours away to attend the event.

The play followed the relationship between two young adults. The performance used a mixture of YouTube videos of slam poets, Shakespearean language, and live music to follow the story. As a skeptic of anything that uses such a wide variety of artistic avenues to explore a topic, I was unsure of what to expect. The cast pulled off what could have been something very confusing as something that was truly beautiful, and it accomplished its goal of presenting relationships for what they are: confusing.

The production began with the use of a projection screen and a live performance by the main actors. The performers acted out the scene in the present, while the projection of prerecorded moments served as the memory of the individuals. They went so far as to replay the same meet-up scene through different perspectives–in the ideal perspective, where the two of them were reciting beautifully written Shakespearean lines; and in the real one, in which they spoke in awkward giggles and half sentences.

Throughout the back and forth between scenes, there was music woven into the piece. The music served to enhance the traits of the character played by McGovern, as well as the feel of the overall piece. In addition to the music, the piece also brought in the philosophical question of how much hormones, or biology, run a relationship versus choice.

The use of water imagery that could be found sprinkled through the production was also extremely effective. Primarily it was used because water has a variety of different states and abilities, like slowly wearing down a rock face. It is this metaphor that led to the title.

After the performance, Maxwell, McGovern, Ehrlicher, and director Marian Scaturro spoke of all the hours it took to put this stunning production together.

“There were a lot of sleepless nights,” admitted McGovern, “but it was all worth it.”

Pinnacle Productions is the largest student-run theatre group at Point Park University. Ehrlicher said she was proud to have her alma mater choose to perform this show.