Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Destruction"

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note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Larry Stark


by Caleb Hammond
Based on The Notebooks of Richard Foreman
Directed by Caleb Hammond

Lighting Design by Scott Hittelman
Video Design by Bara Jichova Kirkpatrick
Composer Simon Milner
Choreography Consultant Vyvyanne Loh
Technical Director Matthew R. Stowe
Sound Board Operator Andrew Prayzner
Production Assistant/Board Operator Lola Rokni
Technician/Board Operator John Tibbets
Assistant Director Tami Altman
Assistant Stage Manager Leila Choudhury
Stage Manager Mariana Maranhao

Well-Dressed Lady........Ann Carpenter
Well-Dressed Gentleman.......Bill Salem
Jerry.........................Caleb Hammond
Helen........................Lorna McKenzie
Vampire King...Dann Anthony Maurno
Vampiress.....................Jocasta Bryan
Vampiress...............Molly Kimmerling
Vampire........................Sacha Conkic
Vampire........................Mike Diloreto

I have thought a lot about the GLOBE's challenge, asking " What if theater lovers from outside the area came to town and said, 'Take me to some shows that make Boston theater special.'? "
My short answer would be "Let's go to Anything at The Devanaughn."
And what is there now --- tragically, for only This One Weekend! --- is a brilliantly theatrical experience called "Destruction" concocted out of The Notebooks of Richard Foreman by Caleb Hammond and a fearless cast.

Actually, "Destruction" had an out-of-town tryout down in New York, and I wish it could stay here in Boston a little longer. Hardly anyone who reads this will run, not walk, to get tickets [phone 1(866)811-4111 right now!] on such short notice, so this review is an academic exercize.

These people use the entire arsenal of theatrical means, from silently frozen in place to flinging themselves (and one another) about the stage, from oratory to argument to snatches of song or ballroom dance, from evocations of "Dracula" or "Night of The Living Dead" to self-mocking insistence that "This Isn't Real!" And, of course, it isn't real; it's theater --- which is, always, realer than reality will ever be.

The show is almost in the form of a "theme and variations" with people intensely, and physically, arguing about what might Be "real", about that void that existed even before The Creation, about falling violently to earth, about the surReality of theatrical truth, about fear and intimidation, death and cannibalism. For a while the quartet of Ann Carpenter and Bill Salem, Caleb Hamilton and Lorna McKenzie seem like the entire cast, until Dann Anthony Maurno in his black cape, mechanized right arm and subtly pointed teeth strides imperiously through the curtain at the rear of the stage to intimidate, to suck necks, and to kill --- and to strew the stage with another quartet of silent, living-dead acolytes.

There is no plot here --- or maybe a dozen conflicting plotlets --- and so it's the intensity of performance, the quicksilver changes in tone and truth, the differences in each repetition of dialogue, and the bursts of ironic self-contradiction that take and hold the center of attention. These actors are vibrantly, rivetingly alive and ruthlessly willing to to collide, intellectually and physically. For a show that admits it means nothing and is not real, it is a fascinating, engrossing, continually surprising experience.
See it if you can. No review can possibly substitute for the thing itself.


"Destruction" (8 - 10 September)
Caleb Hammond& COMPANY
Devanaughn Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1(857)498-0042 [Tickets: 1(866)811-4111]

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide