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Off-Off-Broadway Review

Behind the Bullseye

Behind the Bullseye
Photo Source: Garret Savage
A  zany ritual occurs on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, where dazed Target shoppers and employees grovel at the altar of commerce and behold with awe the sacraments of shopping. Also, people dance with bags on their heads and drink laundry detergent.

It might sound like a typical day at the office for the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, but Sponsored by Nobody's honest docudrama Behind the Bullseye often transcends its outlandish high jinks, aptly replacing the genuine human needs for spirituality, love, and money with frivolous, unending wants. Writer-director Kevin Doyle has composed an imaginative ceremony from interviews with shoppers at the Atlantic Avenue Target store. Six unnamed characters of diverse socioethnic persuasions lay bare our often misguided reasons for clinging to shopping routines.

While the whole experience sometimes teeters dangerously close to absolute bedlam, Doyle at least knows how to drive home a point. Characters' humdrum laments are chanted ad nauseam, repeated until a word like equals finally assumes its proper significance to shoppers who are in every way unequal. In one capable segment, Natalie Kim's character—who nonchalantly stands in for the retail chain's Asian factory workers—discusses using her slight earnings to pay for her brother's schooling, as Mayra Castro's character deeply considers a ThighMaster on a video monitor.

The game cast provides refreshingly intimate characterizations, considering Doyle and designer Brendan Regimbal's erratic landscape of monitors, projections, and Target paraphernalia. Castro's listless character often refers to the "hole" inside her that drives her to shop, and indeed, each cast member deftly renders his or her unique hole, from one woman's (Sarah Stephens) endearing obsession with cleanliness to the harrowing plight of a disgruntled salesman (Keith Jamal Downing).

Tragically, by the farcical end of Behind the Bullseye, these rich characters devolve to their basest physical actions, lost in the capering rites of have and have not.

Presented by Sponsored by Nobody as part of Ontological-Hysteric Incubator
at St. Mark's Church, 131 E. 10th St. NYC.
July 111. Wed.–Sun., 8 p.m. (No performance Sat., July 4; additional performance Sat., July 11, 10:30 p.m.)
(212) 352-3101, (866) 811-4111,, or

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