DiFalco, Zane Pais photo credit Monique
By David Schultz
Reprehensible, creepy, intriguing, extremely poorly acted,
unintelligible at times, oddly paced, and stomach churning. This newly revised
play written by Philip Ridley does have some interesting ideas buried deep
within its bowels. But the sheer unpleasantness of sitting through this miasma
of pointlessness eludes all sensitivities.
The setting is an abandoned decrepit house. Well designed by Derek
McLane, it looks so dirty and flea infested you feel like you need a shower
after attending the show. Timeframe: Post-apocalyptic. Some horrific End of the
World War has broken out…. vaguely mentioned, but not clearly delineated. Thugs
and gangs run rampant in the streets. Hallucinogenic butterflies are the drug
of choice in this new world of psychos and mental degenerates. A pervading
sense of doom, despair, and the world imploding are imminent. Brothers Elliot
(Zane Paris) and Darren (Jack DiFalco) are drug runners that also for a hefty
fee throw demented parties for the wealthy to sate their bloodlust. Sort of a
snuff-porn soirée. A neighbor in the blighted building finds a makeshift home
with these two brothers.
& Emily Cass McDonnell.
Naz (Tony Revolori) eagerly helps the two get the place in shape
for the latest party. Spinx (Sea McHale), the leader of the Organization brings
along his blind lady companion Duchess (Emily Cass McDonnell) along for the
ride. Lola (Paul Iacona) a transvestite finds and brings along the intended
victim for this sickening roundelay, a twelve-year-old boy named Party Piece
(Bradley Fong). The man who is paying for this pleasurable violence is Party
Guest (Peter Mark Kendall), decked out in full army fatigue regalia.
This is the basic setup for this two-hour sadomasochist treatise
on brutality, torture, and madness. Director Scott Elliott attempts to ramp up
the intensity with having most of the actors screaming and yelling at the top
of their lungs during the first half of the production…. a godsend in
retrospect come to think of it, since I couldn’t understand the dialogue. When
the tonal volume lowers a bit, we get to actually hear playwright Ridley’s
poetic verbal perambulations. The old adage that the dialogue would make a
sailor’s ears blush has never been more true in this case. The intense, raw
pornographic language is so ghastly; you just sit there with your mouth agape..
Shock value needs to be earned. The urgent need in this play to shock and
repulse seems forced and tedious simultaneously.
The proceedings move inexorably toward its bloody conclusion. A
few plot twists add to the creepy anticipation of death, physical torture, and
blood. The play’s dystopian world-view is cruel and heartless. The last scene,
with the two brothers, face-to-face, finds a glimmer of potential love that was
always present. That precious human emotion is heavily coated with a mixture of
moralist angst and cynicism. The freeze-frame visual dénouement is a powerful
conclusion. If you enjoy root-canal surgery without any anesthesia, this
bone-crunching play will sate your hunger. All others need to avoid at all
Playing At The Pershing Square Signature Center,
480 West 42nd Street
Playing through September 27th