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LA Theater Review

Fubar, or Interesting, Incredible, Amazing, Fantastic

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The title is an acronym, military slang that stands for "fucked up beyond all recognition." It seems an apt title. David (Ron Morehouse) is married to Mary (Alice Dodd), but their union is troubled. David is still trying to find his own identity; Mary is a doctor. They live in the house where Mary's mother was subjected to violent physical abuse and abandoned by her husband, and where she died by her own hand. Mary realizes, before David does, that despite his sweet, boyish exterior and shy naiveté, he has come to hate and resent her. David takes up with drug dealer Richard (David Wilcox), who encourages him to take stronger and more-exotic drugs in his voyage of self-discovery. Mary takes refuge in long, lonely walks late at night, where she is set upon and severely beaten by an unknown man. She reacts by seeking out gym owner–trainer D.C. (Richard Werner) to teach her boxing. David becomes obsessed with Richard's manic wife, Sylvia (Amanda Street). Their lives become intricately entwined, and surreal elements begin to emerge as playwright Karl Gajdusek explores issues of love, addiction, and violence.

Director Larissa Kokernot has assembled an exemplary cast and mounted a production that is disturbing, perplexing, and often funny. Morehouse is engaging as a wuss tormented and driven to violence by his own wussiness. Dodd has a wonderfully enigmatic face, which hints at sadness in every smile, and every tear is edged with ironic amusement. Her fascinating performance is marred only by her inaudibility, which was frequent on opening night. Street's Sylvia artfully segues from giddy good-time girl at the beginning to a woman driven by drugs and her own passions to extreme behavior, mysteriously channeling Mary's dead mother. Werner makes D.C. a fundamentally decent man undone by his own lurking violence. Wilcox starts out strongly as a philosophic drug guru, driving the action, but his character largely fades out as the story progresses. Gary Smoot provides the appropriately bizarre set.

Presented by and at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood.
April 24May 30. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.
(323) 856-8611 or www.theatreofnote.com.

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