Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kill Me (WildClaw Theatre)

Jude Roche and Sasha Gioppo look at something far away


This show already closed, but I thought it warranted a review anyway, because WildClaw is an excellent young company. All the members are old, but the company has only been around for like 4 years or so.

End of Preface

It's a always a treat to see a show at The Athenaeum, or as we like to call it, THEATRE JAIL.

Why do we call it theatre jail? Maybe it is the bars on the box office, or the enormous front steps. Maybe it is the large echo-y halls or the gates blocking every turn. In fact, the only thing separating The Athenaeum from an actual jail is a 4Square account.
But an interesting stat, nearly 80% of all shows in Theatre Jail have been wrongfully accused.

Kill Me is one of these shows!

Since Kill Me has been billed as "The Horror Event of The Year" I decided to wear some clean undies and to sit way in the back so as to not make a scene when I started crying and eating. You see, I eat my feelings, and when I get scared I eat soup. Somehow, I equate soup with fright so I was sure to bring a cauldron of steaming hot clam chowder with me, just in case.

When I first walked into the theater, I was impressed. I felt like I was on the set of the new Tim Burton remake of "Sanford and Son" with all this black garbage and musical instrument parts all laying all over the place.

"I'm coming, Elizabeth!" I shouted, spilling some hot soup on the leg of the nice but old usher.

Then the lights went down and the show began!

It begins with these 3 ladies standing in a row, talking at you about something... I don't know. I don't understand a lot of flowery language, and also they were talking so fast. When women talk fast, it seems unnatural to me, because who cares what they are saying in the first place?!

Anyway, these 3 lesbian sisters are yakking away about some sort of car accident or there was almost a car accident? I dunno, they were really burning rubber with their mouths there.

There is a play device, I'm not sure what it is called, but when a few people face the audience and tell their points of view in little sentences? I never liked that because I am an idiot and have a hard time focusing.

So then, the scenes start. These lesbians are talking about something or another, and then the damnedest thing happens. This Mexican Wrestler looking guy in feathers comes out and starts all touching the lady!


And then another crazy looking person comes out! Then another! Soon the stage is filled with all these crazy characters all stroking this broad's shoulders and Viewpointing around the stage!

Well I had to take a moment and look in the program and see what was happening and it turns out that these things were demons! All different looking and all so creepy!

They sort of looked like the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse's Hillbilly Cousins.

These hillbillies start playing this piano board up there and then one takes out a violin bow. Trust me when I tell you that you have never been more frightened in your life then when an enormous Demon of Hades starts handling a violin bow.

Now when this Demon takes out a violin bow and starts playing it, do you know what happened? Some guy in my row had a seizure!

Honest to God!

Well, he started making these noises, and it's nothing to joke around about, because we can all get seizures at anytime, but the thought that this man saw a Demon handling a violin bow and started freaking out, well that is just a testament to the Power of Theatre!

These Demons are really starting to really invade the Red Headed Lesbian's mind. She confides in her lesbian friends that she doesn't think she can die. So she starts drinking this antifreeze and sort of stabbing herself and taking pills to show the others that she really cannot die!

1 of the other lesbians is all like "Well, it's just a coincidence because she didn't stab herself right, and she got her stomach pumped and whatnot, but she CAN die".

But can she? Why doesn't she shotgun blast herself in the face and find out? Well, that is where the horror lies! Because you don't know why!

You know what you DO know? These broads sure are good lookin'. I have never seen more attractive insanity in my life. ESPECIALLY for all being lesbians.

See, it doesn't come out at first that they are lesbians, but there are little clues you can see to help you figure it out. For example, 1 lady is wearing a vest and a chain wallet. Not just a wallet, but a CHAIN wallet. For the future, when you are out hitting on chicks at the bar, stay away from the ones who dress like dudes in 1994.

The way horror works is the same way that comedy works. It needs to rely on your basest instincts. Part of making art in those particular genres is both confusion and juxtaposition. So, having scary stuff happen on a scary looking set doesn't do much for me, because it seems like it is happening in the right place.

If these Demons were walking around and girls cutting themselves up was happening in a nice living room, you would get more mileage out of it because it wouldn't fit. It would confuse your little brain.

Now, the other thing that is important for horror and comedy both is that the performers have to sell the shit out of it. And WildClaw delivers more than any other company in the world.

Their actors believe in what they are doing and it shows in the work and can make a mediocre play a great one.

This play is no exception. The 3 lesbian sisters were all great in their clarity and purpose. Casey Cunningham is a stellar young actress that we will all be seeing more of. Sasha Gioppo takes an easy part as the main lesbian cutter and turns it into a complex and engrossing role.

The night I went, the part of Grace, the vesty lesbian, was played by Carly Ciarrocchi whom I had never seen before but, OH MAN WAS SHE GOOD! You are all God dammed lucky to have an understudy work on your show as good she is. God dammed lucky.

The Demons were all played with a beautiful sense of inescapable cruelty by the great Matt Kahler, the enormous and frightening Jude Roche, the cat-like R. Christopher Maxwell, and my favorite little evil hillbilly Ele Matelan.

You should go see theatre like this, because it shows that right here in Chicago, we are changing the face of entertainment. These guys are good and only getting better.

WildClaw! America! Everybody!

Grade: A

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

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