Kennedy Theatre’s final Late Night performance of the season, “A Lovely Violent Ghost Haiku With Gun,” is mesmerizing. Directed by MFA directing candidate Alex Munro, these three short, intertwining plays achieve a vicious, hilarious and puzzling balance. Though the premise of each story is unusual, none of them fully cross the fine line between reality and absurdity, making for a strange but certainly enjoyable production.
The setup of the stage is not elaborate, which gives the actors more room to display their talents and produce characters that are eerily plausible. The show only has four actors, and they each act in two of the plays.
The opening scene is a room containing nothing but a stool, a hammer, and some heavy cream. A ridiculously bubbly page welcomes three sales representatives into the room and instructs them to figure out who will receive a promotion. How they are supposed to determine this using the three unusual items before them is not clear to the representatives, nor to the audience.
Before the cream scene is taken any further, it is paused and another play begins – this time featuring a couple in a car trying to make an unusual decision in order to restore their family. The dialogue between the pair opens with perfectly-timed humor, then slowly dips into an dark story that falls somewhere between nervous amusement and heart-wrenching sadness. Towards the end of the scene, the air was thick with the audience’s desperation to know the couple’s final decision.
“Heavy Cream” returns and the plot is developed a bit further before the third performance takes over. Another couple in a strange and sinister situation takes the stage, this time discussing the boy’s infidelity and the girl’s violent claims uttered in broken haiku poetry. Once again, the plot is mysterious until the very end, though for vastly different reasons. Their jittery dialogue provokes concern from the audience, which forms a connection that enhances the experience of the show.
Finally, the last segment of “Heavy Cream” returns. As the second and third plays took place, time had passed, and the audience is now watching three people who are quickly becoming savages to either get the promotion or at least get out of the room. A final plot twist ends the show, leaving the audience with a, “Wait – what?” attitude and a few last laughs.
These three intertwining shows are not usual performances, but that is part of why they are so enjoyable – they consistently kept people on the edge of their seats and didn’t waste time. The combination of the plays doesn’t flow perfectly, but it seems like that wasn’t the intention in the first place. The blend keeps things interesting and unexpected ¬– everything about this show is impressive – and it would be wonderful to see more like it in the future.