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The Navigator

Eddie Antar's smart and enjoyable comedy focuses on a man whose GPS gives him more than driving directions.

Kelly Anne Burns and Joseph Franchini
in The Navigator
(© Gerry Goodstein)
What happens when you have all the answers? That's the question surrounding Eddie Antar's smart and mostly enjoyable 75-minute comedy, The Navigator, now being revived at the Workshop Theater Company under the direction of Leslie Kincaid Burby.

The work's protagonist is Dave (Joseph Franchini), an unemployed middle class and middle-aged man who drives around in his car, scuttling between job interviews as he looks to dig his family out of financial straits.

Early on in the play, though, he hears a voice. Specifically, his GPS navigator (Kelly Anne Burns) starts giving him advice beyond where he should turn right. It begins slowly when she utters the word "buy" while he's on the phone with his friend and stockbroker, Al (Michael Gnat) and slowly builds to the point whenever he has a decision to make, she chimes in with a response. Even when his wife, Lilly (Nicole Taylor), asks him if he wants chicken or fish for dinner, she tells him what to do.

Dave loves this for a while. He's making money off stock tips, enjoying a better rapport with his wife, and when he's offered a job, she gets him a big salary bump and better benefits. She even saves his life, directing him to switch lanes on the highway thus avoiding a serious crash that happens seconds later.

The show hits a bump though when Dave starts to reject the Navigator's advice. It all happens at once, and then the play is over too suddenly. Rarely does one feel that plays need to be longer, but this one could use another 15 minutes or so.

Burns gets the digitalized voice down perfectly, almost eerily so. She sits in the passenger seat in his car, perfectly still save for the slightest head movements when she's not speaking. In fact, the entire cast rarely moves:. Dave never gets out of his seat, and the other actors appear in bubbles upstage when he calls them.

This lack of movement, though, doesn't diminish the work's energy Antar's snappy dialogue drives the play, especially the carefully chosen words he gives Burns, and he poses interesting questions about the increasing role technology plays in our lives, when convenience becomes too comfortable, and even what's the purpose of life?


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