Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday: Hiding Behind Comets

Went with Will to see Hiding Behind Comets at Zeitgeist Theatre at the BCA Blackbox. The PR for it did not sound as if if would be my cup of tea, but Rick Park is in it and I admire him as an actor and like him as a person. He has taken over Boston Actor news and kept that important communication service alive for the community, so I guess I have to say that I admire him as a citizen, too.
But I hated the show.
Rick was fine. I almost believed his character's implausible lines and unfathomable motivations. But I felt as if I were trapped in a slasher movie.
Here's what Will Stackman wrote about it in the Mirror:

Brian Dykstra's post-modern grande guignol, "Hiding Behind Comets," just opening as Zeitgeist's final offering of the season, is one of those contemporary theatre pieces which pretend to explore hard-edged reality, but which confuse the sensational with the significant. If the script were subjected to the main character's test whether it should live or die, "HBC" would fail. But like a car wreck by the side of the road, this four actor, one set show will probably continue to lure in small theatres until the next example of this depressing trend in current script writing comes along.
Briefly, this brief two-acter takes place in a roadside bar somewhere boring in northern California. A thuggish stranger has shown up. The young bartender, Troy, played by Greg Raposa, seen in "The Fox" earlier this season, is arguing with his fraternal twin sister, Honey, played by Olivia Rizzo. She wants him to close early--it's around midnight--and come with her and his slutty girlfriend, Erin, played by Kelley Estes, to a party down the road. The older man, Cole, is Rick Park, veteran local actor. At the end of the first act, after a good deal of sexual innuendo involving a long ambivalent scene between Cole and Honey followed by a long confessional monologue from Cole, the girls leave. Cole and Troy face off, and the incipient mystery rears its head, resulting in a "significant" curtain line. There's a suspicion that a play might develop in the second act, but the first has the air of a padded one-act, and with editing, would play well as such, though probably not in ten minutes.
What develops in the second part, however, is a series of vaguely Absurdist confrontations between Troy and Cole which become increasingly violent. By the conclusion, the question becomes who will kill whom, with no clear reason why. We're in Shepard country without a map. "Hiding Behind Comets," which takes its title from an oblique reference to the suicidal Heaven's Gate cult, trades on the fading memory of Jonestown to create melodramatic frisson with no real purpose other than violence for its own sake. While "stuff happens" may be the message of the evening news--and the current political morass--more is expected of drama. Zeitgeist's David J. Miller has once again found a script with limited moral value, given it a realistic production, and invited an audience. With the other choices currently available around town, he shouldn't be surprised if they don't come. Like the set, which is very realistic, except for the main wall behind the action, which has the entrances and a window, but is merely one side of the black box, there's something missing in this show which can't be salvaged by Park's impressive acting skills. Raposa manages to keep up most of the time, but the two recent theatre grads playing the girls are left far behind. And the audience is left wondering if they've just watched a staged treatment for a low budget M or X rated film. Or whatever.
Seen in Preview "Hiding Behind Comets" by Brian Dykstra, April 30 - May 20
Zeitgeist Stage Company in Plaza Black Box


Blogger Boston_Theater_Goer said...

"Zeitgeist's David J. Miller has once again found a script with limited moral value"

Interesting that Mr. Stackman questions the 'moral value' of Zeitgeist shows having given positive reviews to shows such as SpeakEasy's 'Johnny Guitar,' and Lyric's 'Meshuggah-Nuns' & 'Kong's Night Out.'

10:36 AM  

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