Once Upon a time…Our Late Night

Once upon a time, it was the dawn of time, it was a dark and stormy night, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and call me Ishmael are amidst the most well known opening lines. Although most of them are tired clichés that give most middle school teachers heart burn, we can't help be drawn to them. Perhaps Our Late Night can be in a similar category as the start of a series of pseudo implausible stories that we tell in order to sensationalize our evening and elevate our social butterfly insanity status in front of friends and colleagues. Why the need to do that? I am sure that is entrenched and pre-programmed not unlike wanting to kill father and sleep with mother.

It is difficult to categorize and criticize Catastrophic Theatre's productions, but one surely can react to them. I am always up for a program that warns that it is "recommended for brave audiences with strong constitutions." Anything that keeps me thinking, laughing and saying what the fuck the next morning has certainly met the goal of challenging and expanding my aesthetic and cultural experiential vocabulary.

Wallace Shawn, as an actor, is perhaps better known for awkward dorky roles such as love challenged Mr. Hall in Clueless. But as a playwright, his work is dark, sexually and politically charged with a dash of controversy. From Shawn's perspective, Our Late Night explores the necessity of dreams and the differences between daytime (as influenced by aesthetic objects) and nighttime slumber.

We all have had somewhat surreal evenings where perhaps due to our own idiosyncrasies sprinkled with chemicals have led to bizarre situations, or perhaps, bizarre recollection of the situations. Our Late Night hones in and out of cohesive and broken conversations between seven colorful characters. At times we connect, at times we laugh at the ridiculousness, at times we feel uncomfortable and creepy, like intruding in what should be private moments: Voyeurism. Seems like that is the theme du jour.

Are we all really that dark but afraid to blurt out our inner most fetishes and fantasies? I could almost compare Our Late Night to the intersection of German expressionism, Magritte-esque sexual surrealism with a hint of freudian psychosis. At any rate, Catastrophic Theater lives up to their reputation, "we will destroy you."

Highly recommended. You may never think of jelly, the tropics, and feathers in the same fashion again. Playing through April 3rd at Diverseworks.