Dead White Zombies Debut blahblah at Green Zone
Theater Caps are bite-sized punch-packing capsule reviews by resident theater critic Elaine Liner. Use them as a reminder -- or a teaser, if you procrastinate -- of her full-length reviews in The Mixmaster's weekly sister.
There is one visually stunning image in UTD professor Thomas Riccio's new play blahblah, now running at The Green Zone in a production by Project X and the new theater "collective" called Dead White Zombies. After 90 minutes of thoroughly confusing interaction among a bizarre array of characters -- two arguing lovers (Lori McCarty, Abel Flores Jr.), a near-naked baron (Brad Hennigan), a paranoid rock star (Iknur Ozgur), a coat-check girl (Raquel Lydia Leal), a gender-neutral teen (Mardi Robinson) and a monster (Ben Miró) -- the upstage curtains are pulled back, the back wall rolls up and...wow.
Plays often "break the fourth wall" by having characters speak directly to the audience, but rarely does a production actually open a physical wall, obliterating the three-dimensional barrier between playhouse make-believe and reality. At The Green Zone, a black box space in the Dallas Design District, opening the back of the building reveals a perfectly centered, magical view of the green argon-outlined Bank of America Plaza downtown.
Blahblah concludes with the lovers delivering a too-long farewell scene against the skyline and night sky (the wordiness of Riccio's script is just one of the flaws of this production, which I review in this week's Stage column). As the lovers depart, the teen character invites the audience to exit across the stage and through that open wall. If only the rest of the play were this inventive.
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The picture of that tall green building framed in the open doorway has stayed with me. Please, someone, stage The Wizard of Oz at The Green Zone. The existing scenery of the Emerald City demands it.
Blahblah continues through May 28 at The Green Zone, 161 Riveredge Dr. Tickets available at the door or here.
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