Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed

College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet "Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed" offers nothing more than a dark night.

With:
With: Bridgette Campbell, Aubrey Chantelle, Ronald Conner, Johnny Dinan, Abigail Eiland, Ian Forester, Jayk Gallagher, Rachel Germaine, Mattie Hawkinson, Sheila Karls, Edward Kiniry-Ostro, Ben Kurland, Terence Leclere, Isabelle Ortega, Kiff Scholl, J.B. Waterman, Jesse Weinberg.

College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on it whole.

White-bread Tim (Ben Kurland) celebrates tomorrow’s diploma by having carnal knowledge of a unconscious co-ed tonight, followed by a dazed and confused campus odyssey to make sense of it all.

Friends and strangers, all struggling with their own psychosexual dilemmas, are enlisted to sort out the meaning and consequences of the “lamentable deed,” although a freshman at orientation could instantly identify the act as rape and direct Tim on how to do the right thing.

Perhaps this monumentally obtuse Candide is meant to satirize moral blind spots, undergraduate division. But no irony is present in Kurland’s clueless oaf, who holds the same pained expression through everyone else’s complaints while waiting to regain the center of attention.

A perky, omniscient Guide (Mattie Hawkinson) provides a window into others’ inner thoughts, and given Tim’s unreadable mug that’s almost a necessity. But her interjections erode the immediacy, and Hawkinson can’t seem to get her mouth comfortably around Basloe’s self-conscious prose. (She describes a dude chugging a bagged 40-ounce like so: “He finds its sapidity comparable to the lukewarm malted fluids he’s consumed from smaller vessels.”)

Instead of setting the troupe of 17 to create a collegiate environment alive with late-night desire, helmer Southard treats them like a scene study class. Thesps are trotted out in pairs and trios while furniture moves in and out of the massive 30-by-30-foot space during clunky blackouts. Some of the material is shocking, but no more shocking than the staging’s conventionality.

Typical of evenings involving underused performers, the cast divides itself into those fully present in the situation vs. those by-God determined to make the most of their 10 minutes in the limelight.

Among the former are the laudable Rachel Germaine as a track star fretfully in training during everyone else’s bacchanal, and excellent Edward Kiniry-Ostro and Terence Leclere as Hasidic stoners, gleefully consulting Talmud to advise Tim between hits of weed.

Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed

Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, Los Angeles; 63 seats; $20 top

Production: A Needtheater presentation of a play in two acts by Frank Basloe. Directed by Dylan Southard. Sets and lighting, Chris Covics; costumes, Mo Stone; sound, Corwin Evans. Opened, reviewed Aug. 26, 2011. Runs through Oct. 15. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: With: Bridgette Campbell, Aubrey Chantelle, Ronald Conner, Johnny Dinan, Abigail Eiland, Ian Forester, Jayk Gallagher, Rachel Germaine, Mattie Hawkinson, Sheila Karls, Edward Kiniry-Ostro, Ben Kurland, Terence Leclere, Isabelle Ortega, Kiff Scholl, J.B. Waterman, Jesse Weinberg.

More Legit

  • Skintight review

    Off Broadway Review: ‘Skintight’ With Idina Menzel

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • Sugar in Our Wounds

    Off Broadway Review: ‘Sugar in Our Wounds’

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY

    Bruce Springsteen Condemns Trump's 'Inhumane' Border Policy During Broadway Show

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • Kenya Barris and Pharrell Williams

    Kenya Barris, Pharrell Williams to Collaborate on Juneteenth Stage Musical

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • BD Wong

    Stagecraft Podcast: BD Wong Talks Basketball in Beijing, Dinosaurs and Batman

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • Michael Jackson Musical Coming to Broadway

    Michael Jackson Musical Coming to Broadway in 2020

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

  • Watch Tom Hanks Vamp on Stage

    Watch Tom Hanks Vamp on Stage to Calm His 'Henry IV' Audience

    College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed” offers nothing more than a dark night. Frank Basloe’s journey through Bret Easton Ellis country trafficks in skin-deep cynicism, and Dylan Southard’s Needtheater production nibbles at a nightmare’s edges instead of chomping down on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content