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Lipstick Handgun Redrum at Fort Fringe

Remaining Performances: Friday, July 24 @ 5:45 p.m. Saturday, July 25 @ 11:45 p.m.

They say: “This is play is scar from my head through my heart to my crotch. It’s a Greek chorus wrapped inside a romantic tragedy. There is also some moments of comedy and a compulsion to move via dance yoga and/or tai chi contained within it. A tornado in the rodeo of love and obsession. With meditations on the power of positive thinking. A shogun mystery choreopoem. Unraveling samskaric imprints.” [Note: I typed exactly what was in the Fringe Guide. Exactly.]

Hilary’s take: “I don’t get it,” says K, as D and M (or maybe it was T?) pantomime their pants off, clawing at their waistlines and collars. “I don’t get it!”

That’s exactly how I felt the entire 45 minutes of Stephen Forrest Notes’ “tornado in the rodeo of love and obsession.” I weathered the storm but walked out of Fort Fringe unamazed and confused. I think the gist of the play is this: Boy meets local “it” girl and becomes obsessed with her powerful sexual energy. But this woman is not powerful at all; she is vulnerable, needy even. But she doesn’t need him. Each is searching for a fulfilment the other is painfully ill-equipped to provide.

In the end, I’m not really sure what happens, and I don’t really care. The main problem with Notes’ play is that it’s damn near impossible to figure out who’s who—what distinguishes M from T?—which means I can’t bring myself to care about their thoughts/feelings/actions in each of the convoluted, pseudo-postmodern vignettes. (That might say more about the acting than the writing, but I’ll never know for sure.) And you can forget about context clues—the only props consisted of little more than jester hats, potty-mouthed sock puppets, and an apple.

The play is a clusterfuck of ideas, and perhaps the acting was a little sub par because the performers had to unload so much other garbage (yoga, tai chi, awkward lesbian kisses, wordy monologues…) in addition to the galumphing (lack of) plot points. As the lights went up and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” (music selection warrants an entirely separate critique) cut through the audience’s baffled silence, I just kept thinking “WTF? W. T. F.”

See it if: Hearing that the playwright studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics sounds like a plus.

Skip it if: Watching someone (maybe D?) devour an apple wayyy too emotionally for five inexplicable minutes—chewing through tears, laughs… pain(?)— isn’t exactly your idea of high art, or good theater. And if while you were reading On The Road you thought to yourself, “Hey, this Kerouac guy could really use fewer drugs and more editing.”