I had never heard of the Transcendent Ensemble Theatre Company (1434 N. Western Ave.) before but its production of The Love Talker was going to be showing at 8 p.m. and there was a ticket with my name on it.
I showed up at the theater at exactly 7:29 p.m. (yes, I checked), and there was a lady standing outside the door. As it turns out, one can show up too early to a production. This stranger and I were awkwardly standing outside for a few minutes until finally someone unlocked the door. (Later, I learned that the doors won’t be open until 7:30 p.m. on show nights.) While walking in, it was hard to get past how small this theater was — it wouldn’t even seat 30 people and the stage was about the size of my dorm room in Simpson Hall.
On that note, there are two other things you should know before you go to see this show. First, if you don’t like having your personal bubble invaded, sit in the back. The cast gets close to those in the front. I learned this the hard way, as I sat in the corner closest to the stage. Second, don’t expect much. The acting, set, costumes, and sound effects are up to par, but the story is lacking. The four-person ensemble deserved a better story than they were given.
The plot of The Love Talker is centered around two sisters who are both sexually tempted by the evil ‘Love Talker’ and his accomplice, ‘The Red Head.’ It’s obvious that this Love Talker should be avoided — after all, he looks like a Voldemort with a nose. So when the youngest sister (who is 14 years old) keeps pursuing the Love Talker in spite of her sister’s wishes, I started to figure that if she dies, it’s her fault.
I didn’t like any of the characters, regardless of how well they were portrayed by the actors. There’s a younger sister who wants the demonic Love Talker (AKA Voldemort with a nose), a violent, bossy (and borderline abusive) older sister and the demon’s creepy companion who looks like Red Riding hood’s ghost. While I won’t spoil the wacky story, I found it difficult to take seriously; some lines were just awkward and uncomfortable including: “I think you and mama got the same boyfriend.”
I felt like I was watching one of those bad horror flicks that people watch to laugh at. The effort was there, but the story just didn’t make the cut. Kudos to the cast, and I really hope they get better scripts to put onstage — regardless of how small that stage is.
I do think the Transcendent Ensemble Theatre Company has a lot of potential, but The Love Talker won’t be their big break. While it’s supposed to be a horror or thriller piece, it ended up being an awkwardly written show that, if it was a movie, I’d label as a horror flop. With that idea in mind, I’m sure that some folks out there will enjoy it, seeing as those kinds of movies still attract audiences.
The Love Talker is showing at The Transcendent Theatre (1434 N. Western Ave.) Oct. 15 through Oct. 30, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door, $17 in advance, available for purchase here.