Death Becomes Them

Death Becomes Them For some, death hovers in the mind like an overprotective mother or a paparazzi helicopter, clouding thoughts to the exclusion of all other possibilities. A tickle in the throat? Surely it's the avian flu. Feeling tired and run-down? Must be cancer...or, God forbid, West Nile. For others, death is a fate to be cheated. Ain't no mountain high enough and ain't no valley low enough to keep these folks from risking their lives in adventure. Fear it or welcome it, death is unavoidable, and it's the varied attitudes we have about it that make possible such productions as Theatre of Death.

This collection of seven short plays, produced by Mark-Brian Sonna, spans centuries (from the 1400s to the present) and themes (death as tragic and comic and everything in between). The plays are part of a genre of Spanish-language theater known as "Teatro Breve" or "Brief Theater." Teatro Breve has just three requirements: The plays must be short (good), they should have a twist (better) and they must cause a reaction from the audience (best). Why Brief Theater isn't more prevalent, we're not sure, because there's nothing worse than watching actors trot around a stage for hours and all you get out of it is an aching bottom and the fear that you've developed deep vein thrombosis. (Take a guess where we fall on the fear death/welcome death scale.)

In this year's installment of Teatro Breve, audiences will see such selections as "The Devil Always Lies," which "distills the shared philosophical questions of what and...who is evil," and "Moriana's Poison," which wraps up in less than five minutes. Can the cast create a sensation in mere minutes? We don't know, but the thrill-seekers out there had better not scoff. Sometimes it's the briefest moments that stick with us for a lifetime. --Rhonda Reinhart

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