What sounds more menacing: vicious dogs or a Messiah who keeps blocking the doorway? To discover Richard Foreman's answer to this pressing question, visit the Ontological Theatre at St. Mark's Church, where the Downtown auteur's latest effort, Now That Communism Is Dead, My Life Feels Empty, began previews Jan. 4. Official opening is Jan. 18.
Foreman favorites, Tony Torn and Jay Smith (both seen two seasons ago in Paradise Hotel), play a couple of hip dudes who mourn the passing of Communism (the theoretical dream, not the painful reality) from the face of the earth. Searching for something to recharge their souls, they contend with the twin evils of multi-national corporations and the media.
As with past Foreman plays, certain things can be safely expected, among them: an aural landscape of music and sound effects; an abstract, disjointed text; a brief running time devoid of intermission (in this case, 70 minutes); and a long run stretching into April.
Foreman's most recent production was Bad Boy Nietzsche, which focused on an encounter between the philosopher and a dray horse being beaten — a moment that, according to production notes, sent Nietzsche hurtling into madness. Foreman's other plays include Hotel Paradise, Pearls for Pigs, Benita Canova and What Did He See?, most of which featured, in production, Foreman's trademark cluttered set designs, festooned with mirrors reflecting the audience and strings stretched across the playing area.
Tickets are $15. The Ontological Theatre is located at 131 E. 10th St. In Manhattan. For information, call (212) 533-4650. — By Robert Simonson