Reviewed by Aaron Riccio
I won't pretend that I understood the zodiac-driven narrative of The Secret War, nor will I claim to have kept track of all the religious references to Zoroastrianism, its sub-sect Mazdaism, or even the various gods that keep popping up. What I will say is this: Darius Safavi's play is sloppy only because it's overflowing with interesting ideas. Nowhere else will you hear a religious chant segue into a modern dance and then into a freestyle rap. Nowhere else will you get such a sense of the perverse in the good and the holy in the bad, and nowhere else will you find such pleasure in being told to "prepare to suck on Satan's spiked cock" while "sucking on [his] acidic tit."
Episode 1, currently playing at the Milagro Theater through May 20th has its closest parallel in what The Best does, only Darius's eclecticism leans less toward multimedia/rock and more toward a riff on all the world's cultures at once. He does it with humor, sex appeal, Techronomicon-invented riffs, and some profoundly creative language ("Let the air-conditioned stars swallow the souls of prophets!"). Right now, The Secret War is an odd, underground thrill-ride, complete with musical guests after every show. But if Darius manages not to leak so much of his energy in needless experimentation (after exhausting so much here, he should have an idea for what works and what doesn't), The Secret War might just take off.
The Milagro Theater (107 Suffolk Street)
Tickets (www.thesecretwar.net): $12.00
Performances (through 5/20): Wednesday - Monday @ 8:00 & Thur., Fri., Sat. @ 10:30
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.