Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

 

Cloud Tectonics José Rivera's dreamlike one-act play casts a powerful spell. On a rainy L.A. night, an airport worker named Anibal (Marco Rodriguez) gives a ride to a pregnant girl named Celestina (Marisa Gonzalez) and ends up taking her home. She's a strange creature, but he's attracted to her ethereal beauty, and they fall into each other's arms. But why have all the clocks stopped in the house? Why don't the TV and phone work? As the "storm of the century" rages outside, time seems to stand still for the young lovers. Only a surprise visit by Anibal's soldier-brother Nelson (J.R. Ramirez) shakes up the reverie. Rivera, an Oscar nominee last year for his Motorcycle Diaries screenplay, asks questions about the meaning of time and the nature of love in this gentle drama. Directors Christopher Carlos and Christina Vela bring shape to the poetic dialogue by having the actors play it all with quiet realism. They take it gradually, relaxing into the sensitive moments, giving us time to absorb Celestina's stirring revelations about her past. The performances by Rodriguez and Gonzalez are exquisite, particularly the steamy seduction--the hottest sex-with-clothes makeout we've seen on a local stage since Octavio Solis' Prospect some 20 years ago. Through April 1 at Kitchen Dog Theater, 3120 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1055. (Elaine Liner)

I Am My Own Wife That she is. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf also is her own best friend, plus some Nazis, Communists, lovers, relatives and even her own playwright, Doug Wright. All are revealed through the body and voice of Canadian actor Damien Atkins in Dallas Theater Center's production of the one-actor Pulitzer- and Tony-winning drama. Wright discovered Charlotte, a lifelong transvestite and dedicated furniture collector, on a trip to the former East Germany in the early 1990s. From a series of interviews, the Dallas-born playwright fashioned this two-act narrative that encapsulates German gay history from World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Atkins' performance is technically astonishing, not to mention his memory for all that dialogue, but the overall effect of Wife is unmoving, rather like a guided tour through a dusty museum. Through March 26 at Dallas Theater Center, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214-522-8499. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

The Rocky Horror (Puppet) Show Leave it to a college theater to out-spectacle every professional troupe in town with this huge, rude, noisy, thrilling production of Richard O'Brien's cult-classic rock musical. This time the large cast of punks, freaks and monsters is joined by dozens of rod puppets, life-size marionettes and mechanical creations that rival The Lion King for originality. Riff-Raff (Michael Tuck) first appears in puppet form, then is revealed to be an eerie human/puppet hybrid. Brad and Janet (Josh Dennis, Kim Whalen), the uptight couple who stumble into Frank-N-Furter's spooky manse, let their puppet proxies perform the kinky sex scenes. Rocky, the muscle-bound masterpiece created by Frank (played with lip-smacking, trannie-loving joy by the gorgeous William K. Lanier), is a 10-foot-high movable sculpture brought to life by five puppeteers. Craig "Yo" Erickson's scenic design makes Frank's castle a multilevel assemblage of staircases supported by gigantic lava lamps. And instead of the white-garbed scientist-narrator, we get J-M Specht onscreen as a dim-witted George W. Bush, assisted by a "Sammy" Bin Laden puppet. It's all subversive and sick-funny. Time to do the Time Warp again! Through March 12 at Collin County Community College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, 972-881-5809. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

 
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