Joshua Conkel's 90-minute fever dream begins with a breathlessly inexperienced narrator (Jennifer Pratt) delineating the multiple roles she'll be playing. These include a rapacious spider named Rochelle, an evil twin living in the thigh of the play's antagonist, Elliot (Noah Benezra), and her work translating the clucks of a chicken named Linda (Kate Sumpter) into English. At the center of it all is the irrepressible Emory, (Tim Smith-Stewart) a "sensitive" 5th-grader living on a chicken farm with his oxygen tank-toting Nanna (Troy Mink). Early on, she makes him surrender his favorite doll and suggests instead that he play with the white-trash neighbor boy, Elliot--who also happens to be a pyromaniac. There are also a few song and dance sequences to MML, because Emory is convinced his ticket off the chicken farm is an upcoming cattle call for a TV show. Director Montana von Fliss stages MML like a live-action Peanuts strip, but the stick-figure approach keeps the focus right where it ought to be--on one of the best Seattle ensemble performances in recent years. As the the bullying (and suicides) of gay youth make daily headlines, Conkel has conjured a fantasy where the events are entirely contrived and the emotions are utterly authentic. KEVIN PHINNEY [See Kevin's full review.] EXTENDED one more weekend, Oct. 13-15.
Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Sept. 15. Continues through Oct. 15, 2011