Liquid Morality

Does making a deathly serious situation appear ridiculous heighten awareness of the situation’s inanity–or does it bolster its gravity? “Where Instinct and Reason Collide,” the subtitle of Kansas City playwright Ron Simonian’s quartet of one-acts, exposes the binary nature of the performance. As Simonian defines these binaries, he also quickly inverts them. He grapples with topics that don’t usually arise in polite conversation–homicide and sex crimes, for example–and doesn’t hesitate to make us laugh at them. From a Bible-thumping, vegetarian hit man to a young couple involved in deviant sexual activities as a way to stay together to a reworking of the Creation story, caricatures pervade the show as evidence of its post-structural themes. The production (the Seattle debut of Simonian’s work) deftly combines powerful acting with witty content; where artists often overdo wit, these performers shine. Directed by Tim Hyland, Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Erin Kraft, and others. IRFAN SHARIFF

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Mon., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; Mon., June 14, 7:30 p.m. Starts: June 4. Continues through June 19, 2010