This show attempts to tackle a wide variety of topics. It comments on ego, music, outer space, insomnia, friendship, romance, dating, technology, education, career paths, and party culture. If this seems like a lot to squeeze into a one hour play, that’s because it is. Each of these topics is addressed no more than twice: once to introduce it and once to remind us that it’s there. The show seems to try and reach in every direction at once.
The show can be summed up as the stream of consciousness of concerns that cross the mind of someone in their early 20s. The description of the show mentions it as an ensemble piece which follows one person. There is a clear main character, Cameron, and the entire play circles around his difficulties and discoveries. I have a hard time calling this an ensemble piece seeing as he is the only character that develops beyond a stock character. Every other character has one note, one worry, and one goal all of which seem to serve only to conflict or affirm Cameron.
Through all of this, there was one choice which considerably confused me. The playwright chose to use no gendered pronouns throughout the piece. All characters were referred to as “they” or “them”. This seemed a particularly odd choice for a show that deals primarily with a bearded man dating a woman who consistently showed off her female figure by being dressed in pants and a sports bra. The lack of gendered pronouns really felt like it belittled the choices of those who choose to live life as a non-gendered person. The fact that the lack of gender was never discussed or in any way addressed other than a conspicuous avoidance of these pronouns made the choice seem less integral to the show and more of the playwright showing off his supposedly progressive attitudes. The fact is, we do not live in a world beyond gender, and if that is a topic the playwright wanted to address, it should’ve been done in a way that depicts this as a valid choice instead of a relatively unimportant imperative.
Against the Piercing Sun is a ramble through a scrambled mind. Cameron and the audience are pulled in every possible direction as both try to make sense out of this world.