Thursday, September 17, 2009


Shervin Youssefian enters onto the stage with Borderline, his theatrical debut which focuses on memories and their function. The stage has proved to be a pleasant departure for Youssefian after his work on numerous short films. In 2002, his storytelling abilities on Color Blind were awarded the Hollywood Foreign Press Award. His characters are often isolated individuals within a personal, intimate situation. Borderline fits the bill and features an extremely capable cast, starring Kris Kjornes and Gavin Perry.

Borderline begins with Peter Slovak (Gavin Perry) who finds himself in the small town of Hippocampus. He is greeted by The Black Lump (Kris Kjornes), a cynical and at often times delusional character who is incapable of giving straight answers. As Peter questions the mysterious character, he also begins putting together a puzzle, trying to discover where he is and what he's doing there. The answers slowly begin to unravel as the truth becomes unbearable for him to handle.

Borderline is a filmmaker's take on the stage and requires a certain vision only a meticulous filmmaker like Youssefian is capable of. He keeps the characters moving utilizing the confinements of such a small stage. The Black Lump jumps and dashes across the stage while Peter hopelessly drags his head and follows along. Youssefian's ability to elicit these performances are what holds the entire production together.

It is the willingness and drive in his characters that allow the story to grow, and it is the capabilities and talents of his actors that keep the fire burning. The Black Lump is neurotic and full of insecurities but these qualities are embraced by Kjornes who becomes the character and proudly demonstrates its mannerisms. Peter's loving affection for Lydia is never doubted, even as he's ripped to pieces left questioning his own existence.

Borderline's underlying themes are also presented in a subtle manner, accompanied by concise and sharp dialogue that pierce the audience's skin. It maintains the ability to remain clever and offer questions, expecting the audience to reach into their own minds and find the answers. Overall, however, it suffers from its own philosophic values which ultimately curb the overall emotional resonance of the ending.

Shervin Youssefian offers a smart approach to analyzing the inner thoughts of a woman. What happens when we're tossed aside in someone's life and walked all over? In the case of Borderline, we're nothing but a memory, stored away until a dreadful soul enters and shares their side of the story. The story successfully puts together these memories and allows them to speak in a grueling process. The result is both alluring and magnetic - a solid effort all around. Borderline will continue its run on September 18, 19, 25 and October 2 and 3.