‘Killers’ absorbs audience through intimacyPosted on September 18, 2013 | by Ana Maris Verde
Approximately 10 minutes before curtain, the house doors open and the audience is led to their seats to absorb the details of the theater. With low red and blue lighting, a wood-like set that is painted off-white and seating for about 50 people divided into two rows, it’s immediately clear that “Killers” is going to be an intimate play.
“Killers,” which is playing at the Paradise Factory through Sept. 29, tells the story of Bobby and Miranda, two best friends with an animalistic urge to kill, and a nameless woman struggling to balance an office romance with her own suicidal thoughts. The juxtaposition between these two storylines is confusing, yet intriguing. The seemingly unrelated stories intertwine with an unexpected twist that offers the audience a lesson in making the most out of one’s life.
Playwright Kevin Armento uses compelling language and playful techniques like repetition and narration to keep the audience engaged in the story, all the while tackling the heavy issues of gender, suicide, lack of ambition and, most importantly, death. Stefanie Abel Horowitz’s direction is on-point and perfectly matches Armento’s text.
The group of five actors is engaging and active — not once do they let let up on the show’s energy and pacing. The collaboration between the director, playwright and actors is undeniably successful, and it is paired with a show that is quick, playful and to-the-point. The cast manages to convey a message without any of the dull, dragging scenes that frequently clutter the middle portion of modern theater productions.
Additionally, the actors take an up-close and personal approach with the audience throughout the whole show — and in a black box setting, it is hard for them not to. John Gasper and Emma Ramos, who star as Bobby and Julia, respectively, give electrifying performances full of wonderful, youthful energy that makes you want to jump out of your chair and join them on stage.
Katy Wright-Mead also treats the audience to a chilling performance as the unnamed suicidal woman. Her soliloquies throughout the play, detachment from the idea of killing herself and deadpan reactions to almost everything are adorably haunting. A beautifully written and interpreted character, she forces the audience to sympathize with her.
A definite must-see, “Killers” is exhilarating in its display of young people making, living and breathing art through the medium of theater.
A version of this article was published in the Wednesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Ana Verde is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.