Thursday, November 3, 2011

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES • R-S Theatrics

The latest play on offer from R-S Theatrics, written by Rajiv Joseph, looks at the relationship of Kayleen (Christina Rios) and Doug (Mark Kelley) over the course of 30 years.  These two are… well… damaged.  Physically and emotionally.  Doug is a thrill seeking daredevil who wears his scars like badges of honor.  Depressed self-hater, Kayleen, suffers from stomach upsets, and sometimes cuts herself.  They first meet in the nurse's office at age 8 after Doug has ridden his bike off the roof of the school, cracking his head open, and Kayleen is having a stomach ache.  Their inquiries about each other's outside and inside wounds ring true to what an 8 year old would say -- "does it hurt" or "can I touch it?", but as they grow older, this self-destructive behavior seems to be what keeps bringing them together.

Scenes between Kayleen and Doug, not always in chronological order, begin with slates that describe their ages and current injuries like, "8 - Face Split Open" or "23 - Eye Blown Out".  Costume changes and wound applications are carried out in full view of the audience and musically accompanied by Ravel's "Bolero".  That was neat.  "Bolero" seemed quite appropriate,  seeing as how these two spend most of the time doing this odd little dance together through the course of the evening.  The costume changes took a little while on occasion, but these intervals detached you a bit from the action, and the reminder that we were watching a play was, for me anyway, rather soothing.  Although Doug always seems more upset about the fact that his relationship with Kayleen has remained platonic for so long, there's obviously a bizarre little connection between them both.  Their love hurts...  

Christina Rios (Kayleen) and Mark Kelley (Doug).
Photo credit: Autumn Rinaldi
Mark Kelley's Doug is brimming with nervous energy throughout, and watching him play ages from 8 to 38 was a treat.  Christina Rios's Kayleen is like a quietly bleeding open wound, and her more heartfelt moments with Doug are affective and touching.  It's a different kind of romance, that's for sure, but worth checking out.

This weekend coming up is the last weekend to see this play -- it closes on the 6th.


GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES

Written by Rajiv Joseph
Co-Directed by Randy Stinebaker & Christina Rios
Crestwood ArtSpace, 214 Crestwood Court
November 6 | tickets: $12 cash only
Performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm

Cast:
Christina Rios (Kayleen) and Mark Kelley (Doug).

Creative:
Props master, Meg Brinkley, stage manager/board operator, Sydney Frasure.

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