Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Second Childhood (in a series of 5)

A grade-school girl gets recruited into a secret global juvenile security agency while her under-tranquilized sister is inducted into the insurrectionist bad-kid school that gives “Killer High” its title. Got all that? Then you’re ready to plunge forehead-cam-first into the amped reality of playwright and friend of pood Crystal Skillman’s latest parceled play, delivered in five unmarked packages to a barren warehouse as part of Vampire Cowboys’ yearly Brooklyn-based “Saturday Night Saloon” fest of live serials in its industrial rehearsal space.

“Killer High” is Theatre of the Broken Filter, in which Skillman sends out a typically impulsive cast to navigate the wrongest way things can go at the sharpest angle. It’s also the latest best example of the Peanuts principle of precocious toddlers taken to its unstoppable extreme, with playground paranoia standing in well for the 21st century’s state of permanent alert.

Director Hope Cartelli’s precision hyperbole is the natural element for Skillman’s energy-ridden dramaturgy, and the bad sister’s hula-hoop pigtails alone are worth the price of admission, or would be -- the Saloon is free, if you can make it to Brooklyn every third Saturday between now and January.

For a mere five bucks more it’s all-you-can-drink, but either way the show will look just as good with other highlights like Temar Underwood’s drawing-room burlesque “The Ghost of Henderson Manor,” Mac Rogers’ “Control Room” (in which the rogue-Superman theme of Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable” meets the bunker-pulp of Michael Crichton), and Brent Cox’s “Jack O’Hanrahan & the One-Sided Window,” a sequel once again stolen by Kelly Rae O'Donnell as a goth Jackie O.-lookin’ sexual sorceress whose prop-less gestural innuendos will make you reconsider your position on mime. And in the best-for-last spot, “Killer High” plays you out mindful that immaturity keeps anyone young.


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