It’s a riff on The Office laid out in a series of loosely sequential sketches depicting the quirky, insular world of a boss and two employees in a small office. The humour is pitch-perfect; as dry as Anza-Borrego with absurdist, Monty Python-esque touches. The laughter is of the lingering kind, even days after seeing the production in the cozy little performance space that is Santa Monica’s Promenade Playhouse. And while it’s unquestionably cheeky to advertise “Only $8 to see the best show ever in the history of the spoken word,” a little bit of swagger in the production’s step is certainly justified. This is golden, funny stuff skillfully put on by a golden, funny cast.
From the moment we walk in the back of the theatre through an elaborate “revival” tent that sets the mood, to the dimming of the lights on a Sibyl Wickersheimer’s big yet simultaneously humble set, Carnage weaves some of that magic unique to theatres. It’s productions like these, the kind that brings pleasure in a stellar cast’s performances and intellectual satisfaction in the post-show dissection, that make me love theatre all the more.
Culver City High School’s theatre students return to the stage of the venerable Robert Frost Auditorium this evening at 7, inaugurating a series of eight performances through Saturday, Jan. 19.
The Shattering Force of Memories
Four actors from the Bolivian Teatro de Los Andes group embody composite characters based on real people. The stage is black. Hanging from ropes set to pulleys: table, chair, picture frame, window shutter. At times, the props are used with such force that, were it not for the actors’ precise choreography, one might worry about their getting beaned. But with nary a mishap, the set design’s clever minimalism yields powerfully dramatic moments. A memorable example among many memorable moments: The agonizing slice of time when a stick figure girl drawn in sand is slowly tipped off a table while a father recounts the loss of his daughter.