Jackalope’s latest is a taut pas de deux that examines life’s banal cruelty. The piece’s central issue (do you know who you are?) transforms into the larger, more sinister question: Does anybody know anyone?
Royall (Andrew Burden Swanson) waits for the arrival of actor Gerry (Pat Whalen), who hopes to rent Royall’s lake house. The interview digresses to wide-ranging tangents concerning survival and sacrifice.
Lucas Neff’s script is a muscular powerhouse that scores with sophisticated wordplay and unrelenting tension. The foreshadowing is heavy and the conclusion is a tad abrupt, but the long stretches of monologue effectively pull the audience through the show, no mean feat. Swanson’s Royall is played with a tightly coiled malevolence; he’s always ten steps ahead of Whalen’s slobby yet high-minded Gerry. Director Marti Lyons’ staging complements Neff’s prose with anxious blackouts, incorporating Chris Kriz’s metallic techno sound design to suggest the machinations at work. (Lisa Buscani)
Jackalope Theatre Company at the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 North Western, (773)296-6024. Through April 15.