“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.
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!!!