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Death: Or the Playground
is said that at the moment of death life flashes before the eyes, offering a fleeting synopsis of the past. If the process were slowed, would we recognize experiences and situations that, though ignored at the time, provided milestones in our developing individuality? Such is the question posed in this depiction of man's struggle to understand his place and purpose on earth. Playwrights Dave Jamison and John Cady have crafted a two-hour barrage of images, incidents, and often mind-bending conundrums concerning reality versus perception. This mental gymnastics meet--prefaced with the program note "There will be no intermission, suckers"--is not for the easily distracted. Stick with it, though, and you, too, may come away appreciating the authors' ability to infuse religion and the afterlife with dreamlike absurdity. As the protagonist, Adam Garcia is half skeptical, half wide-eyed wonderment. His Everyman sensibility and skills as a monologist are essential to making sense of the incoherent events surrounding him. His encounters with seemingly unconnected personages allow Garcia's character to glean tidbits of crucial revelation. With a steady directorial hand, Cady treats us to richly detailed vignettes. Standouts among his finely tuned ensemble are L. Kenneth Richardson as actor/activist Paul Robeson and Gregory Humphreys as drug-addicted author William S. Burroughs. The two trade inspirational stories with perfection. Patrick Thomas Gorman and Candice Rose follow closely as a quarreling couple acknowledging their relationship's demise. Craig Cady's dual roles as a professor and homeless man provide a verbal mudslide of observations on the state of the world. And Anthony Palermo, as the strangest insurance salesman imaginable, is deliciously slick. Representing Immortality, Inc., his character hounds a mother (Allana Barton), keeping watch at her dying son's bedside, to purchase a policy guaranteeing eternal life. He is reminiscent of a young Richard Nixon. Lincoln Morrison's multifaceted illumination and Victor Bertucelli's musically oriented sound design--including an onstage heart monitor--are the icing on this production. Just as in life's playground, what at first may appear disjointed is worthy of notice and certainly a visi
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