Friday, November 16, 2007

Bingo With The Indians

photo: Joan Marcus

In the world premiere of this Adam Rapp play, we're holed up in a downscale New Hampshire motel room with some violent extremists who are planning to stick up the local bingo that they can fund their edgy East Village theatre company. The military-fatigued artistic director, the sometimes hopped up and naked cokehead actor, the coldly manipulative stage manager - they come off like the cinema-terrorist band of outsiders in John Waters' Cecil B. Demented except that Rapp doesn't have the affection for his characters that Waters did, and since Rapp has directed this production, it's a fair assumption that the singular nastiness is exactly what he wanted. It wears thin quickly. Despite some interesting moments analogizing crime to theatre (when the artistic director is recalling the actor not following orders during the armed robbery, it sounds a lot like she's complaining about a fellow performer who's missed a cue) the black comedy in Bingo With The Indians doesn't build and it's never clear where Rapp is hoping his bullets will land: is he satirizing low-budget theatre, or political extremism? The play is like a long snarl, relieved (if that's the word for it) by a harrowing and graphic rough-sex scene. The six actors in the ensemble bring a high level of intensity, but their blood sweat and tears can't bring any real life into a script that is poison-hearted at its glib core.

No comments: