The production employs Temporary Distortion's by now familiar technique of stripping actors of any gesture or representation, isolating their voices into monotonous tones whispered into oversized microphones. No more than two actors at one time occupy twin platforms, while between them stylized film sequences, usually women doing disturbing things such as jumping off skyscrapers or slitting their wrists, are projected onto a vertical screen. The secret to the horror movie genre—that there are no live actors to pose the lie to a represented menace—is thus transposed into the theatre.
It's an impressive achievement and pretty frightening, as the show's refusal to clarify its story line breeds infinite suggestibility, letting each audience member construct a personalized nightmare out of a series of images and sounds. Of course, like any thrill ride, the play leaves nothing behind once the actors leave the room and the screen goes dark. It's as though, in their deep commitment to effect, Temporary Distortion forgot to add substance. As with any decent ghost story, the impact lasts only as long as the audience's goose bumps.
Presented by and at Performance Space 122, 150 First Ave., NYC. Oct. 24–Nov. 14. Wed.–Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 and 10 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m. (No performances Sat., Oct. 31.) (212) 352-3101, (866) 811-4111, www.theatermania.com, or www.ps122.org. Casting by Jennifer Ajemian.