Delusions of Darkness
Fri-Sat 10:30 p.m.through Aug. 18
Back Door Theater
4319 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
A drug called Dazzle that causes a spontaneous combustion in a city that is “just harbor” and whose only commerce is contraband ���� This is the setting of Pavement Production’s latest play, “Delusions of Darkness.”
Written by the well-traveled Steve Patterson, “Delusions of Darkness” is homage to the late William S. Burroughs, and traces of the junky, beat lit icon ebb and flow like the lights at the Back Door Theater.
This unnamed city is home to Murphy (D. Hirsch), an androgynous Burroughs-esque character whose “body will have nothing of [sex]” and who will try any substance in order to try and fix what’s (not) going on down there.
Director Lisa L. Abbott does a fine job of pacing the artists through a script that comes with a disclaimer voiced by Murphy. “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be banished,” he/she says, quoting Mark Twain. The motive is apparent though: Patterson simply wanted to channel some of Burroughs’s twisted brilliance, and in some respects, he succeeds.
Patterson has an easy out in claiming Burroughs as an influence. Those who have seen the film, but haven’t trudged though the novel would not understand, but “Naked Lunch”, the novel, is a long, bloody, psychosexual tome beyond synopsis. To claim “Naked Lunch” as either source material or influence is to allow oneself to write a detailed description on injecting drugs or to simply play with those magnetic word poem things on someone’s refrigerator.
Where Patterson’s script drags is in Murphy’s interminable monologues on life ���� that great, angst-ridden unknowable ���� and the effects, both physical and mental, of psychoactive substances.
What shines is the performance of Mike Katt as gun-toting, drug abusing paramedic Marcus. A veteran performer from the South, Katt’s presence turns the level of artistry up a notch even as he espouses all manner of profanities and references to yet-to-be-discovered drugs.
Other highlights include the performance of V. Spencer Page as The Inspector, the alien-induced spontaneous orgasms inflicted upon the blind Cassandra (Madeline Sanford) and the stigmata-suffering Margaret’s (Deidre Atkinson) blasphemous rosary bead dance.
Unfortunately though, the dead spots in the script leave one wondering when it will all end, and after about an hour-and-a-half, it finally does.