Friday, January 13, 2012

The First Half, Eight O'Clock

Okie dokie. We've reached intermission and, as I suspected I might, I opted to sit the first half through, to write something more informed during intermission. And here I am, needing to amend some of my initial impressions from tech. Forgive the rush as I try to get info out before the continuation of the show. SPOILER ALERT.


This play went off without a hitch, to laughter throughout. "How Barbara" imagines an America in which Sarah Palin (rather, a caricature of Sarah Palin) has become president of the USA. Bumbling and fumbling through a presidency she doesn't want and is too incompetent to handle, Palin puts a world of fury into the hearts of Barbara Bush, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton. Vengeful in large part over Palin's undue success, in part over the damage she's doing to the progress of womankind at large, Bush, Pelosi and Clinton conspire to plant themselves in Palin's ear, to become the de-facto controllers of her office, her policies. Palin, profoundly pliant, kowtows to the wishes of her peers. This is through-and-through farce, a fun and irreverent poking-fun of the powerful.


"The Feast" is an affecting 'torture/love play.' A captive--smart, handsome, and kind--is tied to a stool, upon which he is mercilessly interrogated for information. He's being pushed to sell out a friend or peer, Decker. And the torturer is brutal.

The sufferer, in the throes of his suffering, escapes to the mental haven of his memories with his wife. There he finds strength to resist and, in spite of how easy it would be to end his misery (to talk), he manages silence.

It's a play about love and sex, and the strength they can provide. And, as I said during tech, it's very visually moving. Trick Danneker kills it.


"Whirlpool" is set in a hotel room in Cincinnati, where the Cincin-Indy film festival is taking place. Occupied by three aspiring artists, one a writer/director, one a producer, one an actor. As the play begins the trio debate the merit of a recent film by an "underground darling" indy auteur, whose claim to fame is full-frontal-art-shock-gratuity. They conduct the familiar, "is it or is it not art" debate, to laughs.

When The Auteur appears in the room the conflict becomes clear: "Can we endure the insufferableness of this guy in the interest of our fledgling 'careers?'" The line between the perversity of his films and the perversity of his character quickly disappears, and it doesn't take long before the possibility of group sex comes onto the table.

Very funny, maybe a little close to home for an aspiring artist, the play balances the potty-mouthed with the profound, and represents an opportunity to laugh at toil in the way good comedy can.


This is among my favorite plays of the evening. Dark dark dark, "Ravens" is a portrait of an unhinged woman and an exploration of the sinister depths to which she stoops in self-interest. It's a play about how a predator catches prey. It's a play about wicked patience, merciless and selfish strategizing, and cold blood.

To my surprise, the audience met much of the play with laughter. I don't think I'm being dense in not thinking "Ravens" is funny, I think this is the old phenomenon of laughter rising from discomfort, and the body needing to react somehow.

Catch these plays at ten. I'll see ya then.

(As I ended up spending most of the second half typing this post I'll plan to write on "Hold," "The Fourth Wall Kid," and "There Are At Least Two Lukes at Ballard High School" after the ten o'clock show. Thanks for your patience, I'm sure Erin's on top of what I'm missing.)

1 comment:

Erin Pike said...

I wouldn't be so sure of that last part. There's only so much that can be said in 14 syllables!