Doomsday Kiss at Bootleg Theater The end of the world. Endlessly fascinating, isn't it? Or rather, pondering possibilities about how and when and if. In Doomsday Kiss, an evening of short plays exploring civilization's last hurrah, the if and the when (that is, now) are a given. It's the stuff surrounding how that provides fodder for the artists here. And although much of the brand-new writing may feel a bit too familiar, hang in there; to paraphrase the evening's central character, "There's an upside to Armageddon!" Sharon Yablon's You Might Be Waking Up gives us some very funny moments as four unlikely comrades find themselves together in a business park. Directed by Gordon Vanderberg, a fine Hank Bunker, Tina Van Berckelaer, Mickey Swanson, and Shaughn Buchholz offer a skewed, sexually oblique perspective of the ultimate climax as they tell truths and hoard industrially packaged cheese balls in a world gone mad. In Fun Days at Sea, Eva Anderson has constructed a neat and tidy piece which allows us to, yes, have fun as we see end-times choices played out in a party atmosphere. Adrian A. Cruz directs solid performers Alana Dietze, Ben Messmer, Babar Peerzada, Michael Dunn, and Jessica Hanna in this sweet if predictable tale. Acting as our guide throughout the plays is the always-excellent Gray Palmer as a cowboy scientist appearing to come unhinged as he offers survival strategies and contemplates his part in the catastrophe. But the fact that Clay Hazelwood's rather jumbled Who is Randall Maxit? (directed by Andrew Hopper and featuring Niamh McCormally and Annie Weirich) is broken up into segments doesn't help us hook into this version of the end. Then there's Wesley Walker's hysterically devastating The Classroom—all some of us might need to die happy. Here, Amber Skalski lends just the right sort of directorial hand to the carefully metered material; Jacqueline Wright's terrifying, doll-like Dr. V, Lily Holleman as intrepid journalist Gloria Maddox, and Dietze keep rock steady as they hurl surprise after surprise at us—which is, we now realize, just what we've been waiting for.
Presented by the Repo Division at Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. April 17–May 10. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (213) 386-3856 or www.bootlegtheater.com.