Thu 28 Jun, 2012
Tags: 4 STARS, ANGER/FLY, Eugene Ionesco, Ruth Margraff, Trap Door Theatre, World Premiere
CLOSING WEEK – DON’T MISS!
By Venus Zarris
If you’re old enough to remember the TV show Laugh In, then you are familiar with the idea of people popping out of random windows and doors to deliver odd observations and jokes. It’s not a far stretch from today’s on-line world where continuous punch lines and pontifications pop up on our computer screens. Websites and social media deliver a constant stream of non sequitur ideas and images. It is difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate an overall perception of reality while being bombarded by a continuous flux of chaotic stimulation. Still, we manage to stagger away from our computers with a wider view of the world around us, albeit somewhat static.
Trap Door Theatre taps into that frantic psyche by creating a frenzied microcosm of this urgently insistent chaos in their world premiere of playwright Ruth Margraff’s ANGER/FLY. In a strange but seemingly perfect town, all hell breaks loose when husbands find flies in their soup. Never one to spoon-feed their audience, Trap Door tackles this dystopian deconstruction of social conventions with ferocious playfulness and stylized visceral severity; leaving us deer caught in the headlights of this bulldozer of brazen absurdity. Chances are good that you will walk out of the theater asking, “What the hell is ANGER/FLY?”
ANGER/FLY is frenetic. It is fantastical and it is most certainly fun. It is also a deceptively subversive playground of profundity, packaged with pop music and eccentric exaggerations of familiar archetypes.
Playwright Margraff has taken a suggested scenario from an eight-page film script by Eugene Ionesco and created a shiny happy surface to a psychotically volatile underlying dynamic. It is live-action cubism of Ionesco’s already absurd observation. Director Kate Hendrickson is exacting in her vision of this altered yet strangely familiar hyper-reality. She renders keeping-up-happy-appearances in an infomercial setting while diverting attention from the staggering discontent.
Lindsay Rose Kane’s Choreography and Movement Direction creates a literal ballet of bedlam. Mike Mroch’s Set Design is as much a perfect linear abstraction as it is a canvas for the splattering of color that concludes the show via a slapstick paint fight. Lighting Designer Richard Norwood, Costume Designer Tonette Navarro, Sound Designer Mikey Moran, Makeup Designer Zsofia Otvos, Video Designer Michal Janicki, and Musical Director Nicholas Tonozzi brilliantly complete the creation of this wonderfully weird world, gone very wrong.
The deliciously deranged ensemble takes on the madness at full throttle, taking the common repetitive moments of life and reflecting them through a funhouse mirror of deviate distortion. They create hysterically gross exaggerations of our daily exaggerations. Stellar performances by the entire cast bait us into the whimsical peculiarity and then plunge us into the explosive eruptions of this sublimely surreal delight.
Trap Door Theatre brings an evangelical devotion to realizing the extreme phantasms of their chosen scripts and they do it more earnestly and authentically than the most devout religious zealots. Instead of dictating our morality though, they tear it apart to reveal the very hypocrisies and dangers of our comfortable “auto-pilot” existence. We become the proselytes of their deranged doctrine and it is an insane conversion devoutly to be wished. ANGER/FLY is yet another beguiling example of this mission of madness that should not be missed!
(“ANGER/FLY” runs through JUNE 30 at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. 773-384-0494)
ANGER/FLY production image by Michal Janicki.
* Visit Theatre In Chicago for more information on this show. Angrer/Fly - Trap Door Theatre – Play Detail – Theatre In Chicago