You’re going to have to fill in some blanks at Catastrophic Theatre’s The Danube. There’s a plot, sure. An American, Paul (played by Troy Schulze), visits a foreign country and falls in love with a woman there, Eve (Amy Bruce). As the two begin their relationship, both are infected with a mysterious illness, an illness that, it seems, has affected the whole city and maybe even beyond. What’s the illness? Was it a nuclear bomb? The plague? Ah, that’s one of the blanks you’ll have to fill in because it’s never revealed.
Director Jason Nodler is okay with leaving some aspects of The Danube unexplained. Nodler, who calls the production “more an experience than a play,” says playwright María Irene Fornés uses “mystery and formal elements and dream logic and poetry” to tell the story of The Danube. Does it all make perfect sense, is everything tied up in a neat bow by the end of the show? Ah, no.
“Art is not the news,” Nodler tells us. “It is not the story of what happened but of the way it felt…The events [in the play] serve as a frame on which to hang the feelings. More traditional plays work in the opposite fashion.”
Nodler directed a production of The Danube 15 years ago for the now-defunct Infernal Bridegroom Productions. That cast included Troy Schulze, Amy Bruce (sound familiar?), Charlie Scott and Kyle Sturdivant. Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre Artistic Director Joel Orr was also part of the team. Nodler managed to reunite that original group for this Catastrophic Theatre production. Don’t think this is a revival of that show. Same cast and crew, same play, yes, but a different time makes for a different show.
“On this one, we had a great head start because we’d done it before. But what it meant to us 15 years ago when we first mounted it is entirely different than what it means today. And it’s different for each member of our ensemble.” 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Through October 17. 1119 East Freeway. For information, call 713-522-2723 or visit catastrophictheatre.com.