Murry Bergtraum High School, Grade 12
Honestly, if I were to invite you to a play that had no dialogue, would you graciously accept the invite, with the hope of experiencing something new and different, or turn it down because you think it would make absolutely no sense? When first walking in to the Union Square Theatre to see Jump, I was a little skeptical myself. After all, how well can actors communicate with no words? On the other hand, I was excited because it was something that I never experienced before. To my surprise, Jump turned out to be a seriously funny acrobatic spectacular that at every moment heightened my anticipation for what would happen next.
Jump is an Off-Broadway production that revolves around a multi-generational Korean family whose idea of a good time is competing in martial arts against each other. In this family, there's something distinctive about everybody, ranging from an old and wise grandfather who facilitates the household to a brother who fights well when he's drunk to the brother-in-law whose split personalities are controlled by a pair of goofy glasses. Each of the six family members' personalities complements the others' perfectly.
The peak of the show arrives when two burglars break into the family's home, leading to an all-out battle royale. Unfortunately for the burglars, but fortunately for our entertainment, they picked the wrong house to break into.
There were two things I felt that really made the show work. First was the interaction between the audience members and the cast. Before the show started, an old Korean man walked around the theatre, interacting and making jokes with the audience members. He even sat on one guy's lap and chatted with the person next to him. Then, during the show, on numerous occasions cast members would abruptly stop the show and walk into the audience and choose different members at random to participate in activities onstage. Though it was risky, it proved to be successful, as it put the crowd at ease, leaving them in a comfortable mood after being so engaged in the show.
Secondly, and most importantly, was the way the actors used their surroundings, facial expressions and gestures to tell the story rather than with speech. My drama teacher once told me that acting is more than reading the lines--it's what you bring to the character--and also, for every action there is a reaction. The cast of Jump perfectly demonstrated these points as they fed off of each other, creating a storyline with their actions alone. Their facial expressions and high-flying antics spoke volumes, displaying every emotion possible. In fact, this was by far one of the clearest shows I have ever seen!
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