End of the world funny? Open Road shows it can be

By Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
Staff Writer

On the Open Road - Directed by Alan Craig DiBona. Starring Paul Ray, David A. Lewis, Ben Rankin, LorrieAnn Doria, Scott Nath, Patrick Chu through June 27, Theatre Off Jackson.

When the lights come up on a single man, left standing on a chair with a noose around his neck, one knows that Steve Tesich's play, On the Open Road will be far left of center. And by the end of this dark tale about survival in the world left after the apocalypse, that is an understatement.

Paul Ray is the unfortunate "Angel," who has been left by one of the many warring factions which surface, post-Apocalypse. His end seems certain until he is 'rescued' by Al (David A. Lewis), a cynical intellectual who immediately sees a use for Angel. And so a strange relationship is born as the two trudge over the barren landscape trying to find their way to "The Land of the Free." Along the way, they argue over the finer points of scruples in the face of chaos, and how art can save even morons like Angel, if he'll just listen.

It is a torn, and battered world the two traverse, often coming face to face with the very things they are seeking to put behind them. And as they travel, the audience is asked to consider questions about what would happen if Jesus Christ did come into such a world, whether art is more worthy than intimacy, and the nature of karma. In the end, what surfaces is that, based on this little scenario, it will probably be many more centuries before humankind rises out of its muck to create a lasting peace. Disturbing, humorous at times, this play should not be missed.

June 25, 1999


© 1999 Seattle Gay News. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.

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