"Vignettes for the Apocalypse," a festival of sci-fi/horror plays, has just turned five years old, and so has its mentality, judging by Bill #3 (of nine). The more these awful pieces burgeon with raucous exuberance, terrible acting, violence, sexism, and gore, the better they seem to complete their shock-and-guffaw mission.
Matthew Glogowski and Kiersten Armstrong in The Kids Are Awake
In Steve Strangio's X-Boyfriend, a bimbo (Sarah Shaefer) lures a skinny nerd (Dan Stern) to her love nest so that her beefy former lover, X (Neath Williams), can prove his love by ripping out the wimp's heart (Ziploc bags full of stage blood are de rigueur). The Girls in Their Hitler T-Shirts, by Peter Rout and Joe Muscara, asks us to believe that a Tea Party girl would wear Daisy Dukes and dig threesomes, and that liberal boys would pose as Tea Partiers in order to land them. That's the sci-fi, now the horror: The hottie drugs the guys and harvests their organs.
Micah McCoy's The Texas Textbook Massacre does a better (if equally crass) job of balancing gross-out humor, centrist outrage, and genre writing, depicting a Texas school-board meeting so revisionist (intelligent design should be taught, the founding fathers didn't want church and state separated) that it inspires a zombie Thomas Jefferson (Adam P. Murphy) to rise from the grave—"I came here for America ... and brains!" he declares. "This school board has destroyed more brains than any zombie could!" Whereupon the Founding Father bites a board member.
Meanwhile, Chris Van Strander's With You and Mark Borkowski's The Kids Are Awake delve into the horror of family relationships. With You drearily imagines a murderous son (Jun Naito) capturing the voice of his mother's ghost on tape. Awake dramatizes, without much plausibility, a tense scene between a woman and the son of one of her father's murder victims. The somber mood of these thoughtful pieces could have benefited from a zombie chase scene and a couple of those exploding Ziploc bags full of blood and guts!!!