Death topic of monologues

By Josh Dalton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

One is the loneliest number, and the Invisible Theatre recognizes that. They are honoring actors and actresses who are doing it on their own with the new "Going IT Alone" series. The first production of the series was a collection of monologues written and performed by Victor Lodato (A Book of Harsh Geometry) called "Modern Death."

Appropriately, all of the seven monologues in "Modern Death" have something to do with the eventual demise of friends, enemies and/or pets. The first monologue of "Modern Death," "Chasm," is a touching and sad poem that uses the metaphor of a train station for the departing of a loved one in death.

Most of the other monologues are morose, and rightly so. Yet there are humorous moments in "Modern Death." The second monologue, "Pumpkins," manages to be a satirical and witty portrayal of a gay-basher. This, despite the character's comparison of bashing in the heads of homosexual men to shattering pumpkins on Halloween.

Another monologue of note is "Red Anna Rose," which was written by Keith Gardner. It is the story of a bird that has lived in the same family for three generations. It is an entertaining piece that displays the attachment people have to their pets.

The production aspects of "Modern Death" are intelligent and impressive in their simplicity and execution. The set consists of seven black panels, all except the first and last having a piece of costume hanging on them. Each item is used for a different monologue. Seconds before a particular garment is to be used, the corresponding panel is spotlighted. The rest of the lights then come up on the rest of the stage.

Unfortunately, this repetition does spawn one of the few criticisms of "Modern Death." The show is predictable at times. It sometimes has no chance of surprising the audience. There are also times that are slow during which there is a need to hear someone else's voice, but of course that never happens. After all, these are monologes.

Fortunately for the audience, the writing of "Modern Death" is superb. All detractors are lost within the wonderfully spun web of words. If all of the productions of the series are as good as "Modern Death," "Going IT Alone" will be a quite an accomplishment.

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