Eros in Thanatos and Down in the Mouth, Dramatist Revolutionary Army, at Wing & Groove Theatre. The second of these two one-acts is too fragmented to work, but at least playwright Dominique Gallo makes a serious effort to communicate. Jaimie-Lee Wise’s direction is sharp and rhythmic, particularly in the comic and largely wordless first half. To the haunting accompaniment of Mr. Music (Fazal Miles), a woman (Ashley Simone) sleepwalks through her day typing random numbers. But her nights are vivid, as she’s haunted by a creature (Gallo, an agile mime with an expressive face) bearing a story of child abuse. Unfortunately, the infusion of words turns the piece into ordinary melodrama, and the script’s confused, conflicting accounts end up being frustrating: words create the expectation of meaning. In any case, the most powerful scene–the woman alternately torturing and caressing the creature, trapped with a bag over its head secured by a belt–is so agonizing that any sound but a scream is beside the point.

Try to come in after intermission, because Eros in Thanatos is a repugnant piece of misogyny masquerading as sexual daring. Playwright-director Scott Byrnside’s tale of God, drugs, and sadomasochism features female characters who are literal vampire lesbians of Sodom. With its parade of male fears–women perform vasectomies on men without their consent, fuck them in the ass with dildos we prefer to them, and abort “their” children–it should be called “The Vagina Dentata Monologues.”

–Kelly Kleiman