Sunday, May 13, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors: 05/12/2007

Is it me, or is there a real sense of dread Off and Off-Off Broadway? These are dark times, and these times are certainly being reflected on the New York stages. Big Art Group's Dead Set #3, Adam Rapp's Essential Self Defense and Adam Bock's The Thugs only to name a few of the recent plays that have a undefined sense of terror that pervades. Add to that list Joseph Goodrich's play Smoke and Mirrors, a new play set in the smoking room of an unnamed company. Amidst the idle chat about unreasonable bosses, planned vacations and the lunch menu in the cafeteria are news stories of disappeared persons found dead, men in blood covered lab coats and anti-American letter being circulated around the building. But this new genre of plays, I'll call it Theater of Dread, are not reactionary, left-wing, preaching-to-the-converted, political diatribes; they are reactions to and studies in how are current climate of fear is affecting society. The Flea's production of Smoke and Mirrors is very good. Nick Faust does an excellent job with his cast of Bats (the Flea's ensemble actors). My one criticism is that I wish the writer and director had found a way of presenting the play in real time, doing away with the blackouts in between “scenes”. But that is a very small quibble for an otherwise solid evening of theater.

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