Camel is a wonderful new play written by Charly Clive, directed by Michael Bradshaw Flynn. It is a mysterious yet deeply funny take on friendship, lost love, memory and marijuana performed by Frigid New York @ Horse Trade in association with The New Natives.
Camel is a dark comedy largely because there is a mysterious air of lost love — “Louie,” played with complex opaqueness by the show’s producer, Jill Geurts — hovering over the entire play, which takes place largely in a messy room, often slipping into surprisingly funny moments. The play, which lasts roughly 120 minutes with intermission, takes place in a town in Virginia. Louie has died, but lives on through the gossamer haze of “Camel,” which may or may not be one of the most powerful strains of marijuana known to man.
At the center of the play is “Gus,” played with an anchoring, earthy brio, by Anthony Severance. Gus is a sloppy pothead slacker, trapped in the past, living at home in his home town. He sells just enough weed to get by (as he did in high school). His first love — or was it even love? — Louie dies, leaving him at a sort of existential crossroads. “Ezme” — another high school friend — comes back for the funeral, and appears to be the only grown up in the bunch. Ezme, played by the amazing Karen Johal, is a rival drug dealer, the purveyor of the mysterious marijuana strain “Camel.” Rounding out the cast is the very funny, lovable dunce “Eddie,” played by Joel Brady, also a high school friend of Gus. Eddie is only marginally better off than Gus, still in town, but at least trying to start a business of his own.
Questions abound throughout the hugely enjoyable play. How was everyone connected to “Louie”? Why does Camel conjure her up? What, in fact, is Camel? Is Ezme as mature and collected as she appears? What was and is Ezme’s relationship with Gus? And, finally, will Gus ever grow up?
Camel is playing at Under St. Mark’s Theater from April 13-23 at 94 St. Marks Place. Information can be found at TheNewNatives.net