Ya gotta have a gimmick — and, in these days of shows such as The Rocky Horror Show and the recent Lifegame, the gimmick is audience participation. As such, New York now sees the return of a show from a year ago: Avery Crozier's broad comedy, Eat the Runt. The play itself is fully scripted, with the same group of actors every night. However, the audience gets to choose which actor plays which role.
Mefisto Theatre Company, which staged Runt at Altered Stages in June 2000, has brought the show to the American Place Theater May 25, for an official opening June 5 and an open run. The piece has a new director — Matthew von Waaden instead of Peter Hawkins — as well as a revised gimmick. Last time, a couple of members of the audience were asked to draw balls from two buckets, one with character names, the other with actor names. This time, instead of going for something so random, all the audience members will have remote control gadgets by which they can vote for who plays who.
According to production spokesperson Patt Dale, author Crozier has also revised the script, adding a "Casting Director" who'll help "guide the audience and the actors through the selection of the cast." Video screens will show the tallies, which could have 40,320 possible results.
As for the play itself, it concerns various odd and eccentric applicants for a museum job as grants manager. The characters are written without specific references to race, sex or ethnicity,
For tickets and information on Eat the Runt at the American Place Theatre, 111 West 46 St., call (212) 239-6200. — By David Lefkowitz