Bone Portraits

Deborah Stein’s play is a convergence of science and showmanship as presented by our host for the evening, Thomas Edison (Roy Stanton). Stein’s Edison is chipper and sprightly, just as interested in vaudeville as invention. He shuns the dry lectures of his duller contemporaries in favor of flashy salesmanship—most notably here with his invention of the X-ray. His apprentice in this endeavor is Clarence Dally (Adam Davis), a young man faithful to the ideals of science. The ambitious inventors don’t concern themselves with the risks of hasty progress; only Dally’s wife (LaChrista Borgers), having read about Pierre and Marie Curie, worries about radiation's lasting effects. This message loses some of its power, though, in a series of disconnected sketches. The two vaudevillian performers, Shawnmarie Stanton and Jason Franklin, do everything they can to bring out the comedy of these scenes, and some are indeed quite funny. Others are confusing, and their relationship to the story is questionable at best. The actors are all earnest in their efforts to make the script make sense, so they deserve the credit for entertaining us during the points when it doesn’t. BRENT ARONOWITZ

Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 & 8 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 9, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 16. Continues through Nov. 14, 2009

 
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