• Tom McGrath
  • Trying out one of 3,628,800 possible outcomes in Bombs, Babes, and Bingo

(Re)Discover Theatre turns audience discomfort into a virtue in An Evening of Beckett: Play, Not I, What Where, writes Jack Helbig. Ushers who test your hearing, inspect your cell phone, and curtly order you to your seat set the tone for the three plays that follow. The trio evoke Beckett’s brutish ethos as they confront the horror of life. Existential despair is funnier but no less skillfully conveyed in Organic Theater’s adaptation of the Melville story Bartleby the Scrivener. Organic’s slapsticky portrayal of a dysfunctional law office captures both the humor and the hopelessness of Bartleby’s stock phrase, “I would prefer not to.”

You don’t have to “get” Trap Door Theatre’s Anger/Fly to appreciate it, says Tony Adler. The plotline about a perfect town gone berserk becomes secondary to a striking staging, rich sound design, and charismatic performances. Adler also likes A History of Everything, in which toys represent historical events (an aerosol can for Hurricane Katrina, an little airplane for 9/11) and time runs in reverse all the way back to the big bang.

The gimmick behind Bombs, Babes, and Bingo is inspired. But the story about a bomb maker recovering from a brain injury? Less so. A bingo ball randomizes the order of scenes, mirroring his disorganized thinking. Sean Graney’s alternately ardent and irreverent Romeo Juliet seems sometimes to satirize teenage love. Then again, says Zac Thompson, it can feel like “Graney is riffing and remixing for the sake of riffing and remixing.” Still, the final scene resonates emotionally.