Monday, January 18, 2010

Human Nurture
Audacity Theatre Lab offers another sip of Matt Lyle's comedy that features his most endearing character yet. Who doesn't heart Blork?
By Perry Stewart -
Published Sunday, January 17, 2010

If the frantic and fickle world of pop culture would somehow evolve correctly, the romantic duo of Hello Human Female would be elevated to icon status and Blorkspeak would become the New Slang.

Audacity Theatre Lab premiered Matt Lyle's witty outrage of a comedy 11 months ago. Now the Dallas troupe is staging a slightly altered version that Lyle calls "The Remount." On the snug stage of Teatro Dallas, Blork and Tamela, the oddest couple in the solar system, launch anew their quest for love, compassion and pronouns. 

Tamela, 37, is a virgin who has "never even been kissed by a boy." As naive as she is desperate, Tamela responds to an online dating service pitch and is mismatched with Dr. Gorn, a B-movie-style mad scientist who hopes to inseminate Tamela with various strains of devil seed as part of his plan for world domination. 

But, wait: In lurches Blork, the lab assistant whom the good doctor has stitched together with parts from more than 30 human bodies. It's love at first leer, and Tamela takes Blork home to meet Mother. 

Director Brad McEntire's cast is uniformly excellent. Playwright Lyle has invested Tamela with a series of ridiculous quirks that become thoroughly endearing when brought to life by Arianna Movassagh. Her dollplay/foreplay is a charming example. Jeff Swearingen is nothing short of amazing as he stumbles through Blork's journey of self-discovery. This has to be one of the most actor-punishing roles in local theater history. 

Jeremy Whiteker excels as Dr. Gorn and Tamela's mother, with the Greater Tuna-esque latter character delivering bravo-worthy hilarity. Tyson Rinehart, one of two new cast members, appears as a homeless former astronaut and a dotty grandfather who mistakes Blork for a canine. That leads to a delightful parody of those rescue scenes from the Lassie TV series. ("Is Timmy in trouble? Take me to him.") 

Timmy, meanwhile, is played with shrill conviction by Becca Shivers, who reappears later as the Yakbeesapien, a sexually supercharged creation by Dr. Gorn. 

Johnny Sequenzia composed music for the earlier production, and this time he joins the cast as the narrator. 

McEntire's "dungeonesque" (Tamela's word) set is as spare as his direction is lively. Costume design (by Joyous Israel Keller) is full of whimsy. In particular: Movassagh's jumper and accessories, and Shivers' Yakbeesapien look. 

The most apparent updating in this remount is a Sarah Palin reference. Even she couldn't shoot down the lovable creations in Lyle's comedy.

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