SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes going to a one-act play is more about getting introduced to an idea or a concept more than a completely fleshed out story. Such is the experience of attending Trip at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival. Written by Cordelia Brand, Trip did not come together, but it still had some interesting ideas batted about.
Trip tells the story of a group of nine adults who take a camping trip together to decompress and relax. Some of the group are new “friends,” and others have complicated histories together with loads of resentment and anger towards each other. The most hostile is Regan (played by Hannah Romney), who has had sex with almost everybody in the group. She is also a big fan of whisky and gets in heated exchanges with everyone, especially Sloane (played by Genesis Eve Garcia).
Eventually the group decides to eat hallucinogenic mushrooms and play “Cards Against Humanity,” and this is the strongest part of the play. It is funny, and Brand does a good job developing each individual personality in a short amount of time. Director Sara Jade Woodhouse clearly worked with her actors to get them to be comfortable together and feel at home in their roles. I could have just watched the group play the game bantering back and forth for the entire show.
Unfortunately things take a violent turn, which was a complete surprise. The portrayal of the violent character is well done, but there needed to be more build up to why this character (whom I do not want to name in order to avoid spoilers) acted the way that they did. As is, it feels thoroughly random and disconnected from earlier events.
There also is a park ranger (played by Skigh Copier), who narrates the play by reading Sloane’s journal from her past (mostly as a child in the ’80s). The character felt unnecessary and was a distraction to the story. The technique was a clunky way to explain to the audience how they should feel and what to understand from the action on stage.
Still, there is an audience for a play that tries to explore themes of friendship, trauma, and relationships, and those people should try to see Trip. Given its themes, it does have the “Full-Fledged Fringe” R rating, which it earns with lots of profanity, violence and mature themes.