The Revenants Get Audiences Ready for Halloween (Three Stars)by Johnny Plankton
The Revenants Get Audiences Ready for Halloween (Three Stars) "The Revenants" at The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, Boston. Written by Scott T. Barsotti; directed by Mikey DiLoreto and starring: Tim Fairley, Lizette Marie Morris, William Schuller, and Audrey Lynn Sylvia; through October 20th.
Just because the zombie apocalypse is upon us, doesn't mean the problems in our everyday lives will go away. At least, that seems to be theme of The Happy Medium Theatre's production of Scott T. Barsotti's "The Revenants".
Karen (Audrey Lynn Sylvia) and Gary (Tim Fairley) are having problems with their spouses - beginning with, but not limited to, the fact that they're dead. Or more correctly, that they're undead. World War III is over, and it doesn't matter who lost, but it's pretty apparent who won: the zombies that are running wild in the neighborhood. The play opens with Gary and Karen dragging the still-kicking bodies of their loved ones Molly (Lizette Marie Morris) and Joe (William Schuller) into an abandoned basement - where they affix them each to a brick wall on dog leash set-ups that allow them to wander in small, separate radiuses in either corner. The living spouses stay out of the reach of their purgatorial mates so they won't bite and infect them and turn them into zombies. Apparently they're not quite ready to shoot them in the head to put them out of their misery (standard zombie killing etiquette), just in case they make some sort of miraculous recovery. The four of them will need to stay holed up in their love nest so Karen and Gary won't be attacked by zombie hordes and end up like their spouses. It's a pretty creepy scenario, and the Factory Theatre space is perfectly cast as the post apocalyptic hell hole.
But if you think your marital issues come to an end just because your spouse is un-dead, you've got another think coming. Molly and Joe, who don't speak, do a lot of sitting around and moaning and wheezing like COPD patients when they aren't lunging at Gary and Karen when they wander too close to their circles. They both do a nice job of being undead, managing to look the part of decomposing folks who aren't quite ready to throw in the towel (kudos to costume designer Erica Desautels). But I'm not sure that Gary's life doesn't suck more than the dead folks. His main job - in order that he and Karen don't starve to death - is to gather food and cigarettes for the pair, leaving the safety of the basement when the zombies are less active to rummage for supplies. But he manages to spend most of his time getting loaded, babbling nonsense to Karen, and passing out. The booze seems to help him accept his wife's fate, because he doesn't seem too broke up over his wife's rotting corpse status.
Karen on the other hand, is full of hope. She has Gary help her drag a very heavy locked foot locker in from the garage (at great peril) to see if her zombified hubby can remember the combination - thus proving that he's still Joe inside his ghoulish exterior. During the course of the 75 minute show, revelations about the relationships between the four surface, including some predictable surprises. The show does maintain its hopeless, 'what's-the-point-of-living-anyway?' feel throughout the show, and has some pretty scary moments, particularly towards the end when the impending doom really starts to creep in. I asked my friend after the show what she thought. "It kind of reminds me of what I think hell would be like," she said. And that might be the best assessment. If you can't get enough of the undead, this show is worth a visit.
For more, see www.happymediumtheatre.com.