It's a real place, you know: a craggy outcropping of trees and rock at the southwestern tip of Washington state, adjacent to an inlet with unpredictable currents and treacherous sandbars that baffled all of Capt. John Mears' attempts to locate the mouth of the Columbia River in 1788.
But the 2008 four-hander of the same name by Brooklyn's Debate Society (which developed last season's uneven Buddy Cop 2, also staged at Manbites Dog) is reportedly a darkly humorous meditation on exactly where the "open road" trope of the 1950s and '60s abruptly dead-ends for three different groups of travelers. Creators Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen set these tales of road trips gone horribly wrong on the screen and in the scrubby wasteland of a run-down drive-in theater just beyond the edge of nowhere, somehow infusing an homage to the creep shows of yesteryear into what The New Yorker termed "three studies of bittersweet disenchantment." Time Out New York praised the "queasy humor and moody, haunting tableaux" of a work whose patrons are instructed to sit back, relax, have some popcorn—and then "remember that this country is full of dark, dark places along dark, dark roadways where dark, dark things can happen."
Jay O'Berski directs a quartet including Annie Zipper, Dana Marks, Jeffrey Moore and Performance Art Night all-star Ishai Buchbinder, to original music by Nathan Umstead. Performances are March 29-31, April 5-8 and April 11-14, all at 8:15 p.m. except Sunday, April 8, at 3:15 p.m. —Byron Woods