Skuscocfah!!!, NihilistGELO, at Safety Pin. A one-sheet program charmingly bills this work as “a bad play by J Scott”–but perhaps the phrase describes his wicked intent rather than the show’s quality. Skuscocfah!!! is just as preoccupied with human cruelty as Scott’s nausea-inducing work with Half Cocked Productions, but he’s progressed to the point where he’s combining narrative concerns and absurdity. Here an amnesiac wakes up in a farmhouse and struggles to figure out where he fits in with his psychotic hosts. The play is still antitheatrical: the entire piece is performed in front of a grimy sheet using a handful of lights. But the blood common in previous pieces is less abundant than naked flesh, and physical abuse has been largely replaced by searing mental trauma.
John Wilson gives an intense, Kafkaesque performance as the naked and wounded outsider while Heather Connelly, Rachel Macellus, and Scott himself offer stylized portrayals of his victimizers, adding a bit of unnerving gender confusion. Scott and Dieter Frank’s score may be the show’s creepiest component: jarring sound cues signal temporal shifts and throw the proceedings in and out of reality. Perhaps as compensation for the psychic workout they’re about to receive, those entering this cluttered Rogers Park loft space are offered a cup of hot cocoa at the door. Scott still probably doesn’t care if you come to see his show, but if you do, he wants you to feel at home.