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'Life and Death' offers a candid look at ourselves

by Moira Blazi Special to The Western News
| October 20, 2011 2:52 PM

Many in Libby like entertainment

straightforward, with heroes and villains, conflict and resolution,

good guys winning, bad guys losing, and most of all happy


Keith Meyers and the Pitiful Players

have brought us something a bit different — something edgy,

something dark, something that asks more questions than it answers,

really, a theater experience that’s a lot like real life.

Simply titled “Life and Death,” a

production comprised of five main “skits” with lively and

interesting bridging vignettes in-between, these starkly engaging

pieces center around an old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub, and take

place everywhere: The Old West, a dark roadside, an ordinary

apartment, anywhere, and everywhere, any place that is, where human

beings wrestle with good and bad, right and wrong.

The production opens with “Indian Claw

Foot” a tale of courage and cowardice, blindness and absurdity, set

in the frontier of yesteryear, in which a man and woman, played by

Sheri Zoutte and Jon Spencer, are hiding in a bathtub, fearful of

the unknown.

As a fellow wanderer (played by Makana

Shriner) helps them confront their fears in the form of wild

savages, one of them (played by Logan Anderson) approaches,

injured, helpless, confused and, well, magnificently harmless.

They then have a chance to recognize

the true nature of their fears, and to make a choice.

This is a theme throughout, recognizing

the nature of our fears, as in the second piece “The Lair”

featuring Amy Smart as a woman accountant, finding that a soak in a

bathtub brings with it a little visit to the wild, untamed part of

her soul, in the form of a talking wolf, voiced by Phil


Then we have a dark little piece

featuring wonderful performances by Jolee Holder and Meyer, where

an injured young woman is accosted by death, finding that arguing,

cajoling and bargaining are powerless over her fate.

All of these pieces involve choice, and

although the choices themselves are sometimes clearly defined, the

morality behind them is not, as in the piece “Final Soak,”

featuring Anderson and Smart, where a man’s failed suicide attempt

becomes something much more sinister, yet at the same time much

more human.

Finally, the theme of time itself is

explored a bit in the final piece, “It’s About Time,” where Holder,

Makana Shriner, Gabee Deleo and Meyer tell a tale of the fickle

nature of time, and, our power over it.

As a grandfather clock ticks away in

the corner, a young woman laments “… if I could do this whole thing

over again...” and then she does.

Big themes, disturbing characters,

ambiguous morality, a little bit of theater to make us think, this

is what was served up last weekend in The Little Theatre, and I,

for one, appreciate it. Keep it coming.