Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, April 29, 1999

By Thomas V. Galli, Kennedy Theatre
Moses Goods, Kyra Poppler and Justin
Davis use magic in "Small Gods."

‘Revenge’ has
much to offer

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


THE University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Ernst Lab Theatre again serves as incubator for promising playwrights with its late-night production, "Revenge of Late Night Sci-fi Double Feature."

The concept of "Revenge" is similar to last year's "Late Night Science Fiction Double Feature Theatre Show." but the two new one-act plays are unrelated to those of a year ago.

The stories are in the tradition of "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits, " a style of fiction in which the protagonist(s) may not know what "reality" is, and where the audience is usually left with a moral or message to contemplate.

Several strong performances mark "Revenge."

"Revenge" consists of first-time productions of two scripts by UH students. Travis Nakasone's "Six Over the Wall," directed by Lisa Niemczura, is the more traditional. Man (Justin Davis) is a psychiatrist trying to insinuate himself into the confidence of six escapees from a facility for the criminally insane. When Dan (Edward J. Dyer) kills Jimmy (Moses Goods) and Jerry (Lea Gross) by shooting them with a banana, it becomes clear to Man that he is entangled in something more ominous than an escape from the asylum.

What it is isn't clear. Dan is the leader. Gabriel (Jeremy Pippen) is obsessed with time. Georgia (Kyra Poppler) is the seductive "Queen of Cool" who periodically directs her attentions toward Man. Pete (Julia Gilman) passes as the derelict who has been holding Gabriel's trumpet.

Nakasone takes more time than necessary to get into the story. The outcome is enigmatic.

"Small Gods," written and directed by Tony Pisculli connects on several levels. It's a tale of three office workers named Bob (Dyer, Gross and Pippen) subject to the dictatorial whims and sexual predation of Management (Gilman). Much of the entertainment value comes from Management's brutal and illogical verbal abuse of the Bobs. Casting and costuming is gender-neutral.

Pisculli shows a touch for light comedy in his use of language and sight gags. The Sunday night audience particularly enjoyed a bit involving the coffee-maker and its contents.

Dyer is the designated crazy in both plays. He and Pippen are Pisculli's one-two punch. Pippen enlivens an essential role in Pisculli's play, and Gilman is terrific as the sadistic boss. Davis, Goods and Poppler appear from time to time as construction workers who make minimal changes in the set.

Davis does an engaging job as the hapless protagonist in "Over the Wall." Poppler likewise has more opportunity to display her versatility and stage appeal in "Over the Wall."

The program explains ideas are more important than people in true science fiction, and that most recent "sci-fi" movies are actually westerns, horror stories, or war movies recycled with an outer space milieu. The ideas here aren't always clear, but adventurous minds will find "Revenge of Late Night Sci-fi Double Feature" worth seeing.

Bullet Revenge of Late Night Science Fiction Double Feature
Bullet When: 11 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday
Bullet Place: Earle Ernst Lab Theatre, University of Hawaii Manoa
Bullet Tickets: $6; $5 students, seniors, military, UH faculty/staff; $3 UHM students with valid ID
Bullet Call: 956-2598

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