Produced by Catastrophic Theatre, A Very Tamarie Christmas is local goddess Tamarie Cooper’s 17th flirtation with musical as drug-induced memoir, a thing that begins with a thought, maybe with a question, and then romps joyously downhill from that point forward.
Wallace Shawn’s work was rarely seen in Houston until Catastrophic Theatre mounted their critically acclaimed production of Shawn’s Our Late Night, followed by the Houston premiere of the writer’s masterwork, The Designated Mourner. This November, it’s Marie and Bruce, Shawn’s 1979 portrait of marital misery.
Their track record with rhymster Mickle Maher is equally satisfying, and includes The Strangerer, Spirits to Enforce, and this month, the world premiere of The Pine, a play Maher created especially for Catastrophic, funded by a grant from The MAP Fund
It’s appropriate that Houston’s Catastrophic Theatre is serving up Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as its debut in its new venue, the former home of DiverseWorks, where Catastrophic had staged several shows in the past. Most of the works they’ve produced and/or created over two decades owe a huge debt to Beckett and, more than any other of his works, to Godot. There’s a strong feeling of coming home about the company’s realignment with its single most profound reason for being.
Of course, if you haven’t seen any show lately that’s profound, dark, disturbing and thought-provoking, then you haven’t been to anything produced by Catastrophic. It’s what this company does, and it has been since it rose from the ashes of Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Houston’s long-iconic house of weird and wonderful pain. As so many local theater companies grow tamer, discovering as though for the first time that lighthearted, brain-dead entertainment fills seats, Catastrophic seems to fill enough seats with the absolute opposite.