Trio of one-acts reveal the
possible evil in us all
|Brikenbrak Theatre Project, i/a/w Gorilla Tango Capital presents|
|Written by Neil Labute
Directed by Paul Cosca
Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western (map)
through October 31 | tickets: $15 | more info
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Deathbed confessions are absolution rites to get to the afterlife. Reality show confessionals are bragging rights to get to the after-show-life. Bash is the telling of deep dark secrets for both release and vanity. Brikenbrak Theatre Project, in association with Gorilla Tango Capital, presents Bash, a trio of one act plays by Neil Labute. Ipigenia in Orem has a businessman pick-up on a woman in a hotel bar. The woman gets screwed when the anticipated hook-up turns into the guy’s walk-of-shame sans the sex. A Gaggle of Saints has a college couple recount different versions of a big party in the city. Despite their privileged and religious upbringing, the students aren’t as pure as the ‘dirty people’ they ignore. Medea Redux has a scorned woman share a revenge plot fourteen years in the making. BASH is the disturbing stories of three-of-a-kind ordinary people, all challenging the definition of humanity. Society is taught to believe that there is good in everyone. What if deep, deep down, a person is bad? And unremorseful? And sitting in the next seat on the train? BASH is ‘ataxia,’ the Greek word for ‘world out of balance.’
Master storyteller Neil Labute has written three monologues with authentic dialogue and details. Under the direction of Paul Cosca, the narratives are unsettling interrogations. Cosca stages the audience in a horseshoe around two chairs facing each other. Each theatre patron receives a number on arrival. Three guests will take turns sitting in the judgment seat. (It is not forced participation. When a number is called, silence ensures a ‘pass’ to the next number). Taking a turn opposite the actor, I had the best seat in the house for Ipigenia in Orem. In dual roles, Cosca is also the nervous businessman and I’m the pick-up. The experience is real, intimate and uncomfortable. Throughout his discourse, Cosca keeps suggesting I have another drink from the imaginary mini bar. (I wish I could). Cosca shuffles through smaller stories mixing up timeline. As the listener pieces it all together, Cosca goes from pathetic geek to shrewd businessman… to the umpteenth degree. Cosca is awful…good.
In A Gaggle of Saints, Graham Jenkins (John) and Kirby Brown (Sue) have a duet monologue. From good families and church goers, the perfect couple describes in enthusiastic detail how pretty their relationship looks. Jenkins’ presence personifies big-man-on-campus with a carefree stance. Brown talks ‘mob wife’ with perky willful obtuseness. She wants security and nice things and doesn’t mind a little blood. Jenkins flashes a smile and rage with the same glee. Jenkins suppresses and oppresses hate. Jenkins is bloody…brilliant.
In Medea Redux, April Taylor describes her childhood sweetheart, her teacher. Taylor shares a long-kept secret with fond memories of love that spurred into revenge. Her cadence is matter-of-fact as she describes the innocence of youth and fast forwards to the burden of adult understanding. Taylor’s account of vengeance satisfaction is unemotionally emotional. Taylor is scary…great.
With Labute’s words and Cosca’s direction, the realization of human evilness in non-Hitler types – a guy in a bar, kid in church, gal at KFC – is a deep dark secret revealed. Bash whacks with an intensity that leaves a bruise… permanently!
Brikenbrak Theatre Project is proud to present an art gallery entitled "Visions of Secrets", to accompany our newest production, Bash, by Neil LaBute.
Twelve artists from all around Chicago have submitted over 40 paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations for the gallery, including Layne Jackson‘s "There are Secrets" (left) and Joyce Speechley‘s "Mill Stream" (top of review).
The twelve artists included in the gallery are Julia Lynn Haw, Layne Jackson, Joseph Budka, Maral Hashemi, Lisa Pantoja, Ricardo Gonzales, Erika Cespedes, Chrissy Scolaro, Chris Helton, Clark Bending, Michelle Korte Leccia, and Joyce Speechley.
Running Time: Ninety-five minutes with no interruption
Playwright: Neil Labute
Director: Paul Cosca
Costumes: Jaina Alexander
Stage Manager: Hannah Baker
Featuring: Kirby Brown, Paul Cosca, Graham Jenkins, April Taylor
THREE WORDS: Disconcerted from being smiled at during A Gaggle of Saints, Tom describes the trio with ‘Dark. Darker. Darkiest.’