Thursday, June 11, 2015

Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait: Theater review by Jenna Scherer

The militants in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait don't see combat, or even a single enemy; instead, they're trapped alone in a wasteland, with all their demons in attendance. It's Waiting for Godot by way of Heart of Darkness as two American soldiers sweat it out at a remote desert outpost while the rest of the globe is in the grips of a catastrophic world war. Smith (Numrich, charismatic and terrifying) is all manic energy and sudden rages, while Leadem (Miskell) is tense and withdrawn, visited by visions of a ravaged woman (the haunting Jelena Stupljanin).

You can feel the heat and the panic in Daniel Talbott's hallucinatory production, which has the rhythm and texture of a nightmare. Talbott breaks his story into vignettes to evoke time passing and water supply dwindling, punctuated by John Zalewski's electric-misfire sound design. Like the grains of sand on the floor of the stage that audience members must walk through to get to their seats, this one will stick with you for a while.—Jenna Scherer

Gym at Judson (Off Broadway). Written and directed by Daniel Talbott. With Seth Numrich, Brian Miskell. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.


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