Not since Ben and Jerry, Sacco and Vanzetti, or hydrogen and oxygen has there been a more fortuitous pairing than Karen and Edna. They re-pair the zeitgeist and one’s faith in theater as they negotiate the scrambled vignettes, mangled dialogues, and skittish skits of Alice Down The Rwong Wrabbit Whole, presented at The Emerald Tablet. This is not for the faint of heart or the linear-dependent; they will lose you in the dust with the split-second timing of their controlled hysteria. They even lose track of Alice at some point, but she is just a pretext for the spontaneous combustion of a delirious context.
The Cramps have a song, What’s Inside A Girl, and maybe this is their response. What’s inside these women is the story of Alice in Wonderland put through a psycho-blender where it is cut, chopped, and transformed as they inject the shredded narrative with flashes of linguistic brilliance and a lot of movement. This is home-made theater which would make a TV explode—it’s not used to transmitting so much talent per minute. I’m surprised they don‘t juggle hand grenades on unicycles while reciting sections of the encyclopedia naked. It has that kind of invented and demented reverb.
I can imagine these two becoming a staple in Hollywood—showing up whenever a film needs several minutes of absurdity and delight. A scene in a haunted forest, and out pops Karen and Edna as a couple of fast-talking wood nymphs. A foreign city in the future with a couple of mime fairies lurking in the shadows.
Their play is a multi-faceted one-act, running about an hour. It is fresh and tangy as pineapple catfish soup, and it is perfect for those who’re on a date. Surrealism can be liberating, and hot on the heels of liberation is the libido. While it’s true that these are ladies of the night (they’re ladies and their show is at night), their wardrobe changes are PG. Their language veers into the R-rated now and then, but it’s by accident, or is it accent. Karen makes the most ferocious faces, like an ancient demon mask, while Edna can evoke the depths of pathos with a sudden look.
Being stricken with perpetual PMS (post-modern staging), they are pomo as all get out, slipping in and out of character like crazy girls on speed who’re trying on clothes. If you ever wondered what a tune-up of your motor nerves would be like, see this show.
This production will only play through October 15. Act fast. For further information and to purchase tickets, click here.
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“Alice Down The Rwong Wrabbit Whole”, an original comic play written and performed by Edna Barrón and Karen Anne Light with guidance and mentorship by John Gilkey. Produced by The Emerald Tablet. Lighting by Della Heywood and Lapo. Sound by Edna Barrón.