O Lovely Glowworm

It’s easy to understand why the adventurous artists at New Century Theatre Company were drawn to Glen Berger’s 2005 play—it’s gorgeous in language, vivid in conjuring alternate realities, and wildly theatrical. What they didn’t grasp is that it’s also interminable and repeats its few ideas ad nauseum. An amnesiac goat lives on a trash heap during World War I, trying vainly to recall what he is in life. A tram conductor? A mother? A dog? And through his reveries, we meet the odd assortment of characters: his owners, a mother entering another decade on her deathbed and her ne’er-do-well son, an inventor whose holy grail is the flushable toilet. Running parallel is the tale of two childhood friends now fighting in the war, who vie for the affections of a capricious mermaid dreamed into life from the logo of a soap bar by the dyspeptic goat. At the goat’s whim, characters roam down blind alleys of possible endings, recouplings, deaths and resurrections, until the whole affair staggers not so much to a conclusion as an end. Director Roger Benington has an exquisite touch in rendering each of the goat’s visions like living, intricately-executed origami. Glowworm is going to make you crazy, because you’ll likely hate the play, but as a showcase for Seattle’s best theaterfolk working at the top of their craft, you dare not miss it. KEVIN PHINNEY

Wed., April 13, 8 p.m.; Thursdays-Sundays, 8 p.m.; Mon., May 9, 8 p.m. Starts: April 13. Continues through May 14, 2011