Andrea Kuchlewska’s “Complete,” now in its West Coast premiere at the Matrix, is a portmanteau parody that jointly sends up the self-help movement, as well as the study of linguistics.
The excesses and pretensions of both subjects are potentially fascinating. Unfortunately, Kuchlewska’s play is so awash in jargon that meaning is often swamped. The dialogue varies from comical self-help banalities to arcane linguistic references that baffle anyone not conversant with the subject.
Under the direction of Jennifer Chambers, the actors spout inaccessible verbiage as if they were delivering Neil Simon one-liners worthy of rim-shots. By the time we learn who these characters actually are and why they are acting as they do, we have almost ceased to care.
The action opens in an est-like self-help seminar led by Jack (Scott Victor Nelson), a smooth guru with a sadistic edge. In this particular training, Jack’s target is Micah (Scott Kruse), a linguist who is unable to tell his fellow linguist, Eve (Meredith Bishop), that he loves her.