‘Bash: Latterday Plays’ draws even the drabbest audience in6/5/2013
The audience will ultimately feel uncomfortable as the curtain figuratively comes to a close. But that is playwright Neil Labute’s goal in “Bash: Latterday Plays,” which will be performed by the Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) Theater Co. in mid-June.
“Bash” is one play consisting of three separate acts. The first in the series is “Iphigenia in Orem,” which is about a businessman from Utah who tells a stranger in a Las Vegas hotel room about an unspeakable crime he committed in his past. In the second act, “Gaggle of Saints,” a young couple tells two very different stories about a violent event that occurred on their anniversary weekend in New York City. “Medea Redux,” the final of the three acts, features a woman being tape-recorded about the tragic relationship she had with her junior high teacher.
Ron Gilbert, director of “Medea Redux,” describes “Bash” as “exploring the evil that lives within people.” Drawing from classic Greek themes of tragedy and placing them into modern times, LaBute explores the human condition. Kellie Kramer, who plays “woman” in “Medea Redux” and is described by Gilbert as being one of the most versatile and talented actresses in Des Moines, illustrates the essence of the play as being about people who, for some reason or another, found themselves having to make a choice, and sometimes it’s a darker choice. As an audience member, she says you start to ask yourself, “What would I have done? And what does that say about me?”
With simplistic sets and at times only one character to focus on, some may shy away from a show like this — but don’t. The actors are staged at audience level with seating closed in around their sets, allowing viewers to be easily drawn into the action and dialogue at a uniquely intimate level. An entranced audience will easily forget where they are and that they are even watching a play at all.
Kramer and the rest of the cast seem to truly become their characters and possess the real human emotions of anxiety, trauma, uneasiness and occasional psychosis. One cannot help but be compelled and wonder where it will all lead.
“It’s a gut punch, and you’ll feel like the rug is being pulled out from under you,” Kramer describes.
Running through the latter half of June in the Kirkwood Theater, each set in “Bash: Latterday Plays” is approximately 35 minutes long, but the fast-paced set changes won’t allow enough time for audience members to calm their unsettling nerves between acts. CV
Caitlyn Ryan is an editorial intern from Iowa State University and a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the National Honor Society for journalism majors.“Bash: Latterday Plays” showing at the Kirkwood Theater, located at the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets downtown. Tickets can be purchased through Midwestix, or stop by Wednesday, June 19 for Dice Night and pay at the door the price of whatever you roll on the 20-sided die. Show times: Thursday, June 13-16, 7:30 p.m., $20 Monday, June 17, 2 p.m., $14 Wednesday, June 19-23, 7:30 p.m., $20 Monday, June 24, 2 p.m., $14