Really, these are the guys who are going to save the world? All we can say is, good luck with that!
BY ELLEN WERNECKE
From the very start of America 20XX, in which two muscular gladiators out to save the world accidentally kill each other, this comedic dystopia leaps ahead of most superhero satires of stage and screen. The Rutgers troupe Wacky Hijinks and writer-director Cyriaque Lamar bring a uniquely twisted view of the future to the stage, and while there are missteps, they hit their marks better than most spoofs, starting with their line-up of truly inferior superheroes.
“Live from the death of democracy,” the Power Patriots—pompous Constitution (Jon Bershad), argumentative Red State/ Blue State (Greg Bing) and the inscrutable Super Eagle (Lamar)—have congregated in the Liberty Lean-To, completely aware they are facing their doom. The nasty piece of work iDol has uploaded the souls of every human on the planet, and unless the Power Patriots can protect the last real American baby, they too will be sucked into the gaping, toothy maw where iDol’s click-wheel should be.
With a villain so ludicrous at one point he yells out, “I’m a machine! I count things!” these sad supermen have no hope except to trade American history-influenced barbs, relive their worst flashbacks and face their fears in what can only be described as deus ex anti-machina. Whether they’re singing ‘90s rock ballads or waging war with jazz hands, Bershad and Bing are straight-faced and fantastic—but it’s Lamar’s “gross illiterate clone,” the mostly-naked, squawking man with the bald-eagle mask, that makes the satire sublime. Lamar’s fellow actors may resent these small moments of absurdity, but they pay off for the show: It’s just so incredibly weird that you can’t help but be taken in by the conceit and pushed towards the ridiculous conclusion.
“America 20XX” returns for one final performance August 18 at 6PM at the Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street. For $15 tickets and more information, visit America20XX.com or FringeNYC.org.
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.