'Life and Death' offers a candid look at ourselves
| 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
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
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.