It’s very tough putting an overall grade on two one-acts by the new Porcelain Bomb Productions troupe.
The show’s opening segment, a 17-minute mime by “Ka” regular Jorg Lemke, is a selection of moments from his “Mind Odyssey” epic, and there’s enough intriguing movement to make you want more.
Lemke is a middle-aged, well-muscled but forlorn looking creature perfectly constructed for a silent tale about an Everyman struggling with inner forces. Susan Wilson provides provocative lighting, rich in shadows.
But then there’s that second act. Director Jason DeFreitas has put together a 27-minute skit called “Zombie Dome Infomercial” featuring himself as a talk-show host who interviews zombies and the people who love and eat them. It’s a one-joke sketch with people joyously devouring body parts as they drop one-liners.
The writing doesn’t go anywhere, the blocking is hopeless, the acting is pedestrian (except for David Matthews in a nonspeaking role, who somehow manages to suggest the attitude of a living corpse). You keep wondering why the play exists.
DeFreitas is a designer who seems far more interested in the technical side of theater than in writing or directing. He needs to learn to subjugate his considerable talents to a solid script and a competent director to allow his gifts to contribute to some kind of coherent vision. The core parts of this sketch are missing, because it’s put together by a man who’s more interested in a couple of elements of drama rather than in drama as a whole.
Two unrelated sidenotes: The Aruba Theatre has proven itself a versatile, powerful, dramatic environment. It adds a lot of atmosphere, especially when the director and designers come up with a strong concept. I wish it were more frequently used. And DeFreitas’ forming of a new theater company indicates that people are continuing to abandon the once-thriving Cockroach Theatre. Too bad. Cockroach once had a good thing going, but it seems to have lost its ability or desire to mount productions.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.REVIEW
What: “Mind Odyssey” (fragments) and “Zombie Dome Infomercial”
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Aruba Hotel, 1215 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Tickets: $12 (383-3100)