In his recent review of “The Upside of Anger, ” New York Times film critic A.O. Scott called it “a seriously flawed movie wrapped around two nearly perfect performances.” Change the word “movie” to “play” and you have an apt description of Collaboraction’s production of “Guinea Pig Solo,” starring Dale Rivera and Sandra Delgado. Brett C. Leonard ‘s 2004 play is the jangled, dark-humored (and hearted) story of Jose Solo (Rivera, frustration personified), a Gulf War vet who has returned with a whole host of psychological problems and a well-deserved chip on his shoulder. Estranged from his wife (Delgado, rough and voluptuous) and young son, he beats out a living selling hotdogs from a cart. He’s just barely holding it together when he reaches a tipping point that sets off his mental and spiritual collapse. Oddly, Leonard’s short, jerky scenes don’t build momentum as much as suggest it. There is also a lack of narrative clarity to which director Anthony Moseley seemingly looks the other way. There is one scene, however, that leaves you reeling. Sitting in a bar, Jose lets out a half-funny, half-stinging tirade against a world filled with “jock itch and heart disease” and corporate executives “thumbing their coke-filled noses at guys like you and me.” The NYPD and the USMC “can all tongue my piss hole, for all I care,” he says, adding, without much subtly: “That which does not kill me makes me want to kill someone else.” This extended monologue is the most coherent element of the play, and Rivera massages it with just enough emotional ambiguity that—for the moment, anyway—you’re not quite sure if he’s letting off steam, or gearing up for a complete and utter meltdown. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.