In “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, ” his playfully erotic response to the first Gulf war, a horny coyote was dead set on screwing a housecat while the moon discussed Shakespeare. In the apocalyptic “Marisol,” his other Obie-award winner, guardian angels had split from heaven in an act of protest against a senile God and the moon had gone AWOL. So is it any surprise that “Massacre (Sing to Your Children),” playwright Jose Rivera’s stunning world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in a co-production with Teatro Vista, isn’t just about seven people holed up in a farmhouse after slaughtering the monster that had ruined their lives for the past six years? Or, is it? Sure, there’s visceral and violent lyricism that references blood, brain bits and the struggle against a “beast” (“…And his neck gave me no resistance and I fucked him in the neck with a thin steal cock and I would not listen to the begging.”). But there’s also downright militancy and politically charged passion in Rivera’s poetry that mesmerizes with its truthfulness and topical urgency. And just when you thought you had pinpointed Rivera’s target, for the majority of his liberal audience probably the same person we’ve been blaming for our political woes during these past six years, he anthropomorphizes that “beast” to begin his real indictment. I’ve probably already articulated too much, as “Massacre” really is one of those difficult Rosarch Tests-of-a-play whose narrative loopiness, supernatural meanings and political allegory will haunt and confound each audience member in a different way. Director Chuck Smith helms an engrossing production from start to finish and a brilliant Hispanic ensemble delivers Rivera’s tale with the fiery passion that only the Latin temperament could afford. (Fabrizio O. Almeida)
This production is now closed.