Saturday, April 22, 2017

Play a Day: Blindfolded Into the Dark

Wilfredo Ramos
For Saturday morning I read Blindfolded Into the Dark by Wilfredo Ramos, and available for download from New Play Exchange.

So, three improvisers are captured by the Islamic State ...

What truly impressed me about this work was its combination of unapologetic tastelessness and heart.

It has been a long while since I have enjoyed (endured?) the outrageous storefront theater that marked the late 80s and early 90s, shows like Cannibal Cheerleaders On Crack, about which I remember virtually nothing except a representation of every single bodily fluid was eventually projected onto the audience and one guy tries to fuck a cheeseburger.

After 9/11 and greater and daily awareness of the horrors of terrorism, certain subjects or storylines didn't seem off-limits so much as simply not funny. However, from the outset Blindfolded lunges fearlessly into the abyss, presenting Pythonesque debates between captor and captive on the nature or reality and wrangling the inevitable, absurd bureaucracy inherent in any organization.

Yes and there is an ISIL captor whose name brings to mind Bohemian Rhapsody. Yes and there is a terrorist commander with a LUSH fetish. Yes and the three American theater artist captives represent a neat cross-section of your stereotypical improv comedy troupe; one Jewish, one gay, and the woman.

(My own play, This Is The Times, which takes place during the Red Scare, features an improv trio which includes one Jewish, one black, and the woman. So it goes.)

Mel Brooks told us we need to laugh at Hitler to render him powerless. In this play Ramos presents the barbaric hideousness of modern warfare, but through ridiculous and very funny dialogue promises that hope for the future rests within each of us.

Now let's get out of here.

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