On the Verge
On the Verge
Among the most imaginative works of the 20th century, Eric Overmyer’s ON THE VERGE OR THE GEOGRAPHY OF LEARNING captivates with its abundant invention. Three Victorian lady travelers take it upon themselves to discover the mystery of things as they set out for Terra Incognita and discover the future. Cross the wordplay of S J Perelman with the world-in-a-time-warp vision of Caryl Churchill and you might approximate the special flavor of ON THE VERGE. In Eric Overmyer’s chimerical new comedy, three Victorian lady explorers set out on an adventure that takes them to darkest Africa, highest Himalaya and Terra Incognita … Blending Tom Stoppard’s limber linguistics with the historic overview of a Thornton Wilder, Mr Overmyer takes his audience on a mirthful safari … spinning into time travel. Three ‘sister sojourners’, each a prototypical Victorian lady explorer, equipped with dialog as pithy as their helmets, thwack their machetes through the wilderness while telling tales of past jaunts among the natives. As intrepid trekkers, they put the lie to any charge that they are representatives of a weaker sex. Mr Overmyer has written a play that is joyfully feminist. Heroines to their heart, the explorers can accommodate themselves to any emergency (natural or man-made), although they are momentarily disoriented as they approach modern times. In their kaleidoscopic adventure, they journey through a rain forest of hundreds of artifacts from the future - household utensils, mechanical contrivances and a side-view automobile mirror that reads ‘Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.’ How does one deal with such a chimera? … In the play there is wit within the palaver. As one traveler says, ‘I have seen the future and it is slang.’ The author himself is an ecologist of language and a shrewd observer of our quest to control our environment - and the environment of others … A frolicsome jaunt through a continuum of space, time, history, geography, feminism and fashion, Mr Overmyer’s cavalcade is on the verge of becoming a thoroughly serendipitous journey. -Mel Gussow, The New York Times
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