Liz Duffy Adams’ “The Reckless, Ruthless, Brutal Charge of It or The Train Play” at the Oracle Theater is Will Act For Food’s latest production, and rightly chosen, because boy are the characters in this show hungry; ravenous for omnipotence, peace, control and other insatiable desires.
Seven obsessive humans and a cheeky deity take a mind-bending train journey to… Actually, do any of us know where we’re really going? Under the direction of Andrew Jordan, the cast bursts with energy, enlivening (and thankfully overshadowing) the rather dull and uninspiring set. Twelve-year-old aspiring super-hero Leopard Girl (a limber Tricia Rodriguez) desperately seeks her super-power while unnerving Gabriel Angelfood (a perfectly manic Colin Sphar) who must change the universe or be destroyed. A scientist (a dynamic Scottie Caldwell) muses on epistemology and attempts to flirt with a down-and-out writer (an easily ruffled Reece Thornberry). Three Russian brothers (the charming Dennis Frymire, Adam Welsh and Volen Iliev) preach peace until American capitalism seduces them. The goddess, Gaia (a hilarious Melissa Tropp), provides an important outside perspective on humanity as a whole.
The 85-minute show balances overly articulate monologues with brief, humorous interactions in which the group gropes (sometimes literally) for release from their inherent solitude. The frustration is palpable as the characters’ imaginations and intellects painfully butt against their own limitations. It’s almost a relief when the passengers face the “reckless ruthless brutal charge of it” (“it” being the speed of the train, the ineluctable passage of time, and maybe life in general) and abandon their troubles, accepting that “nothing really matters”.
Many people might leave scratching their heads, but there’s enough humor, sex and surprise to keep everyone entertained regardless. And please bring non-perishable food items to the show. They will be donated to the Lakeview Food Pantry.