THE DORIANS: PARTS 1-9, Hostage Theater Company, at Voltaire. Too often critics mistake stupidity for ambition. When a bunch of 22-year-olds slaughter Greek tragedy or Elizabethan drama, they’re praised for their artistic courage rather than reprimanded for their blinkered hubris. Playwright S. Lamar Jordan, on the other hand, has true ambition, as evidenced in this nine-play cycle, The Dorians. Billed as “an ongoing project aimed at exploring the myths and misconceptions of guardian angels,” The Dorians moves from a cafe of the undead to a wake to a bus terminal to a tenement roof in search of living angels. Jordan is no sentimentalist, however; he shows again and again how much damage people can cause when they assume the right to watch over others.

Jordan is in the midst of developing one of the most puzzling styles of any local playwright. He sets his characters adrift in a sea of half-finished thoughts and contradictory assumptions; impulses shift haphazardly, and stretches of fragmented dialogue are repeated verbatim every few minutes. The approach fails as often as it succeeds; sometimes the ambiguity becomes opaque, and sometimes the islands of lucidity seem simpleminded. But despite the hodgepodge of acting styles and almost total lack of technical support in this production, the intriguing truths Jordan scratches out hold the evening together.

–Justin Hayford