Local playwright and fabulist Bret Fetzer loves his fairy tales—flights of fancy, whimsical character names, adventure plus a moral, and sometimes a talking household object.
His new Blind Spot, cowritten with Juliet Waller Pruzan (who is also a dancer and choreographer), sticks to the Fetzer playbook: A neglected 8-year-old named Kirsty Vanderkamp explores her house, creating a radio documentary of her adventures. She hangs out with dust-bunny farmers—including a lovelorn boy named Iota Potts and the ungrateful object of his affections, Aura Rotter—under the bed. She visits a burlesque club in the fridge. She sits around with nasty journalists who run a gossip magazine out of the china cabinet called Dish. She ascends to a Scientology-like cult in the bathroom light fixture, whose members say things like: "It's not enough to wipe the smudge from the glass. To truly see clear, you must clean the finger of its oil and filth!"
The story dives high and low, from the light fixture to the slimy water pipes, following Aura's long journey to becoming a jaded, world-weary adventurer and Iota's increasingly sad attempts to find her and woo her back home. The ensemble—including Jennifer Pratt as Vanderkamp and Alissa Mortensen as Aura—is clearly enjoying itself, playing dozens of broad American caricatures from the wheezy old stripper to the itinerant preacher, and singing a few gospel-country songs by Rick Miller.
The digressions into the secret life of the Vanderkamp house are imaginative and fun, but Blind Spot is almost all digressions without a strong center of narrative gravity: Subplots sprawl in all directions, and while we know Vanderkamp falls into this fantasia to escape the frustrating banality of her real life, tighter corollaries between the two worlds would've made for a richer psychic landscape.
And, at over two and a half hours, falling through one looking glass after another eventually loses its charm. By part four, when the Potts family is turning in on itself in some battle between the slave trade and an underground railroad in the household pipes (where bee stingers are the weapon of choice), the whole endeavor loses steam. The play reinvents the house in a childlike way as a rich, surprising place and satirizes all kind of adults, from the poor devout to the filthy rich. But less, in this case, would be more.