, , , , , , , ,

Flux at Clubbed Thumb

Monday, December 17, 2007 Leave a Comment

On Saturday, in the afternoon I went to see a reading at Clubbed Thumb, an Obie-winning theatre that specializes in funny, strange and provocative plays. Years ago, I'd seen a reading of a play by fellow BAPF alum Kirsten Greenidge, and have heard great things about this organization. Also, my friend Eliza Bent was in the show, and she's not to be missed.

Well, funny and strange it was, and in all good ways. Dan LeFranc's Night Surf features lovers squirting each other with fish sperm, acne-ridden sexy alpha females, dangerous Wiccan spells, and one of the loveliest fantasia-denouements uttered by a homeless person I've ever heard (and a gold star to the blog-reader who can remember the other homeless person fantasia-denouement I might have heard.)

It is extremely difficult to sustain a play based almost entirely on whimsy, but this play did it, aided by direction from Adam Greenfield that stressed the urgency and stakes, and actors who grounded the flights of fancy in real human need. I was especially impressed by Marin Ireland's deadly serious and imperious Selene, Flora Diaz's insanely wicked Wiccan Treebs, the understated comic timing of Steven Levenson as Teague, and especially Tracee Chimo's work as Callie, the emotional center of this play. Tracee was able to match the frenetic comic energy of the play while always remaining startlingly present. And Eliza hilariously led a pack of girls obsessed with boys that channeled a Greek Chorus to very clever effect.

The play, by its end, feels almost like the greatest Scoobie Doo episode you ever saw, the one you watched when very high and maybe even shrooming but with just right group of friends so that the ludicrous plot twists were actually clues of a larger and stranger mystery; and even if the characters moved in only two dimensions, you traveled so far and fast in both dimensions you forgot all about the third, until the fourth dimension reminds you that you have another show to make today, and so you can't tell the actors, direct, playwright and producers how much you enjoyed the reading over wine, so you have to dash out and make a mental note to post a blog that can only ever capture a whisp of the good time you had; much like that old homeless man in that denouement, remembering longingly over all the girls in the play and beyond, keeping them safe.

Yeah, I'm not sure what that last paragraph meant either. But thanks to Clubbed Thumb for bringing me to such a wild, strange and funny play.