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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Stirring up the dirt
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Stirring up the dirt

Dark, edgy Disco Pigs wallows in dysfunction and tragedy

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

DISCO PIGS
GIANT PROJECTS/SOUND THEATRE COMPANY
Through October 6


It might be best to take the attitude that the production of Disco Pigs by GianT Projects (now housed in the Ballard Underground space) is spoken in Swahili or another language you don't understand. That way, you'll expect to get most of the context in visuals and sound effects. And much of the time, you can piece together the story.

It is, indeed, a strange tale by Enda Walsh, an Irish writer of exceptional edginess, who recently won a Tony award for Once (now on Broadway). Disco Pigs is her first play that caught people's notice. Pig and Runt, normally known by their families as Sinead and Darren, are next-door neighbors born minutes or hours apart in the same hospital. They've grown up together and developed their own language, which they essentially only speak to each other.

So, even if you're used to an Irish accent, their use of it is different. It can therefore be a bit frustrating trying to follow the story. Fox Rain Matthews and Alyssa Kay portray the 17-year-olds, and we know they know what they're saying. They are compelling to watch, which helps the piece work. A few more overt moments of humor would have been welcome, as this play, directed by Gianni Truzzi, is pretty dark.

SWINISH BEHAVIOR
The story focuses on the pair's birthday and the day after. We're introduced to them - they tell us they were born in 'Pork,' Ireland, and grew up together - and to their vernacular. We understand fairly quickly that they are basically thugs. They go to a local bar to disco dance and pull a scam in which Runt pretends to like a boy, and when he responds to Runt's enticements, Pig pounces and drags him outside to pummel him into unconsciousness. Then they rob him. This doesn't bother Runt in the least.

However, their relationship starts to change when Pig kisses Runt. While Pig begins to obsess about Runt, Runt begins to pull away from Pig. Whether you understand all the words, it's clear that tragedy is the result of the disintegration of their too-close relationship.

The staging is ultra-low-budget spare - stage boxes painted with childish alphabet letters - but the disco-style strobe-light effects are all that's really needed. Matthews does a solid job of portraying the dysfunctional Pig, including a devastatingly creepy-sexy moment when he describes his fantasy of having sex with Runt, in far more understandable language than in most of the rest of the play. Kay has a beautifully expressive face that communicates a lot of what she needs to get across. The two leads work well together.

The play supposedly takes place in 'the present day,' but that can't really be true. References to 1990s hit shows like Baywatch date the piece, as does the music.

If you're looking for something different theatrically, this might be something to put on your calendar. If you crave light comedy, though, it's not likely to be your best bet. For more information, go to www.soundtheatrecompany.org or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/259302, or call 1-800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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