Lost Nation Theater Opens Zany
By Jim Lowe, Times-Argus Arts Editor
– “Wacky and Wonderful”
Christopher Durang’s comedy Laughing Wild is zany even to the
point of being surreal at points - yet it offers keen and witty
insights. On Friday, Lost Nation Theater opened a production of this
hilarious comedy that ranged from witty to ridiculous, yet was often
Lost Nation veterans
Maura O’Brien played Woman and Daniel J. Sherman, Man, two
super-neurotic urban Americans at odds with life. Beginning with
reminiscences of both, the two come together for the wacky and wonderful
Woman begins by
telling of an unpleasant encounter she had with a man at the
supermarket. She was looking for tuna fish only to find a man doing the
same thing. Apparently he didn’t have the good grace to know he was
holding her up, so she began becoming more and more irritated, and
finally seething. So instead of asking him to let her in, she hits him
on the head and runs out of the store.
Quite simply, Woman
cannot cope with life. In order to alleviate her loneliness, she joins
Alcoholics Anonymous – though she isn’t an alcoholic. After she
embarrasses herself there, a man is nice to her – so she goes to bed
with him. And that makes her want to jump out of the hotel window, so
it’s back to the mental institution.
Woman may seem to be
out of her mind, but her ruminations hit home just a little too often
for comfort. And the same can be said for Man, who delivers his own
It soon becomes
apparent that Man was the man whom Woman bopped in the supermarket. He
is largely unhappy, and decides to change himself through
self-improvement courses. He is determined to become positive, full of
self-motivation and esteem, but constantly finds himself faltering. He
hasn’t even been able to decide what his sexual orientation is, which
leads to some amusing ideas.
What the two have in
common is that they are unhappy and they are angry about it. During the
third act, the two come together – first in dreams, then in reality.
And it’s about as whacked and wicked as Durang could make it – yet
surprisingly touching in its humanity.
The Lost Nation
Theater production, directed by Gregg W. Brevoort, benefits from two
excellent performances that worked both separately and together at
Friday’s opening night performance. O’Brien was able to make her deeply
disturbed character sympathetic as well as funny. One mental health
professional in the audience admitted to be uncomfortable with the
realism. Yet O’Brien successfully combined humor and pathos.
Sherman’s Man was also
very real – and very funny. At first very together, then unraveling,
Sherman made it all very believable. And though you might not have
wanted to, it was hard not to relate. And the two played off each other
was the lighting design by Lost Nation’s co-artistic director, Kim
Bent. That was complemented by an attractive set by Eddie Freund,
costumes by Rachel Kurland and sound design by Fred Wilber.