Reviewed by Deborah Klugman
Moving Arts at Atwater Village Theatre
Through April 15
In Cory Hinkle’s funny, clever comedy, the apocalypse has happened and the only people who appear to be left on Earth are cannibals, Somalian-like pirates and a self-absorbed couple named Jane (Megan Kathleen Duffy) and Chip (Nick Ballard).
Or not a couple exactly. Past lovers in New York City, Jane and Chip were having a catch-up coffee here in L.A. when the world suddenly and inexplicably went dark. They ended up together in a basement apartment stocked with canned goods after (in an event only spoken about) the usually mild-mannered Chip murdered his buddy who had occupied it.
The circumstances aren’t really to the liking of the unsentimental Jane, especially as Chip is always after her to copulate and re-people the Earth, which she regularly declines to do. Jane likes the quiet of the apocalypse, and the luxury of not having to respond on Facebook or conform to other must-dos of modern life. She has a good 20 or 30 IQ points (at least) on Chip, who is sweet, slow-witted and obsessed with their getting back together. He recalls sex with Jane as “the best she ever had,” an assertion she snickers at.
The dynamic alters when Henry (Brandon Bales) arrives; he’s another former boyfriend of Jane’s, who’s escaped from the cannibals where he’d been working as a slave in exchange for his life. He too remembers himself and Jane as a hot item, and a rivalry ensues between the two men, much to Jane’s irked indifference.
The burlesquing of the dating game and male competition is only one appealing aspect of this layered character-driven satire, whose chief target is the fatuous self-obsession that drives the behavior of so many individuals. (In this case, both Chip and Henry are actors who recall cataclysmic events and past acting gigs with equal weight.) Hinkle also takes raucous aim at people’s animalistic urges that lie just beneath the surface.
The four-person ensemble, which includes Connor-Kelly Eiding as a soothing figment of Chip’s imagination, conjured up, after Jane goes off with Henry, is spot-on, under Darin Anthony’s sharp and well-paced direction. The scenic design’s leafy backdrop (uncredited) is an effective choice for this tiny venue. The play deserves a bigger one.
Moving Arts at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; through April 15; www.movingarts.org or (323) 472-5646. Running time: 75 minutes with no intermission.