People ask me after seeing a show if I liked or enjoyed it. Certain kinds of plays are not things that you like or enjoy. It would be like saying: “I enjoyed Schindler’s List.” The appropriate question is sometimes: “What did I think of the play?” Molotov Theatre Group’s season opener Extremities definitely falls into that category. It deals with an intense subject matter but also shows us that nothing is cut and dry no matter how horrible the circumstance.
William Mastrosimone’s play concerns Marjorie (Sherry Berg), a woman with no drive, who sits up in her farm house all day. When Ray (Alex Zavistovich), who we come to find out is a sexual predator, knocks on Sherry’s door and ultimately forces himself on her in an attempted rape, Sherry turns the tables on him. She sprays bug spray in his eyes, ties him up, and locks him in her fireplace. She also threatens to dig a hole in her backyard and bury him alive.
From the outset we think this is a play about a woman taking matters into her own hands, but remember I used the word attempted, which means she has to prove this happened.
Sherry has two roommates, Terry (Jennifer “Jenno” Osborn) who wants nothing to do with this situation and Patricia (Alexia Poe) who tries to get Sherry to look at the legal ramifications of what has happened. At the outset Patricia actually feels sorry for Ray. She even insists that Terry goes out to get medicine for him and feeds him some bread to soak up the bug spray in Ray’s mouth, which could kill him. That is as far as we are going with the plot and even if I went further, the ending is not what you think.
I am very much looking forward to seeing more from this company
The four member cast is expertly directed by Molotov’s Co-Artistic Director Michael Wright. He has used every inch of the teeny tiny DC Arts Center stage to full advantage. Wright builds the intensity of the piece from what looks like a casual encounter at the top of the show to its ultimate climax.
The four member cast is superb and they all follow Wright’s lead in building the intensity. Sherry Berg as Marjorie is brooding and relentless in her portrayal of the victim. She is small in size but never underestimate the power of a shovel and various other metal objects. Berg’s performance exudes a “Don’t mess with me because you will regret it” attitude.
Alex Zavistovich is equally as intense as Ray the predator. He is big in height and commands the stage from his first entrance. His portrayal shows us how manipulative predators can be sometimes and that they will do anything to get what they want. Zavistovich also created the fights for the production as he is a master fight choreographer. This show is quite physical so the idea is to make it look real while keeping it safe for the performers. This is achieved perfectly.
Jennifer Osborn’s Terry brings a little comedy to the proceedings. She totally gets her character all the way down to her multi colored nail polish and is just a joy to watch. The same can be said for the more serious Alexia Poe as Patricia. Her character shows us that we can have compassion for what some might say is an animal of a man.
The set does not have a designer credited but the show fits a full room including a fireplace and a dinette set. Matt Vossekuil makes the most out of the limited light plot in creating the moods for the piece.
Extremities at Molotov Theatre Group is a play that should be seen for many reasons. It features a great group of performers and it is well directed. It also is a well written script. If you only know the movie version with Farah Fawcett, you need to see it onstage to get the full effect of what Mastrosimone was going for. If this is any indication of what Molotov Theatre Group’s work is, then I am very much looking forward to seeing more from this company that prides itself on intensity.
Running Time: 85 minutes with no intermission
Advisory: This play is NOT recommended for anyone under the age of 13 for its sexual depictions and adult content.
Extremities runs through November 3rd 2013 at the District of Columbia Arts Center which is located at 2438 18th St Washington, DC. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here or by calling 202 462 7833.