A quixotic Bertolt Brecht scholar (Davey Johnson) is being terminated by his university, and his exit interview is with a deeply religious woman (Catie LeOrisa) who praises the Lord no matter what evil befalls. Their scenes are cleverly written, and well performed, but interspersed by a dubious running gag of a lone gunman shooting offstage. There are sacred cows, for sure, but school massacres are hardly food for comedy.
It was like watching Saturday Night Live with a group of extraordinarily talented performers doing a series of numbers, some brilliant others asinine, with a screeching bunch of cheerleaders as openers that almost had me running for the serene Hollywood outdoors.
Perhaps the best skit was a Catholic priest (Rich Hutchman), Irish and affable enough to be a man of the cloth, who chastised the professor for losing his faith. Another delightful sketch was a self-loving TV host (Wayne Wilderson) giving notes to a bewildered guest (Jocelyn O’Keefe) before the TV cameras rolled.
All the actors deserve applause, but the show was confusing as it leaped from farce, to an indictment of hypocrisy, to a slap against religious people. Perhaps my sense of humor is skewed but when the gunman finally appeared it was disturbing to realize that anything is grist for a laugh nowadays.
Written by William Missouri Downs, directed by Sirena Irwin, and produced by Andrea Hutchman and Craig Anton for Buzzworks Theater Company..
At The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, through Nov 15. Tickets: 323-960-7712 or www.plays411.com/exitinterview
Photos by Carl Steinbauer.