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Lauren Lindsey
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Open: 05/07/09- Close: 05/30/09 Love in the Time of Terror
Reviewed for By: Lauren Wissot

Though the press notes cite Brecht, Beckett, Ionesco and Lynch as inspirations for “Love in the Time of Terror” there’s a Dada feel to this WOW Café Theater production. Right from the start three characters, at turns sexy and bedraggled, announce to the audience that the play may not necessarily make sense to us. To offer a plot summary of a show that includes a Rubenesque diva in a sequined, aqua blue number straight out of “The Little Mermaid” (belting out sultry tunes in a dynamic voice that seems to weigh more than she does), bickering lesbian couples, and a blind woman whose family and cat were murdered in a genocide is to merely fall down a rabbit hole.

Suffice to say that writer/director Jasmina Sinanovic (aka JZ Bich), who hails from the Balkans and is a producer and performer with HyperGender Burlesque, is more interested in exploring theme than story, specifically “lies, deception and what it means to be stuck in the world without hope.” Which is all fine and good – in theory. And this is where the main problem with “Love in the Time of Terror” lies. Simply put, it’s less a play than an academic thesis delivered by unenthusiastic, forced-feeling actors who seem to be going through the motions rather than living them onstage. In lieu of “enough sex and violence to give it a NC-17 rating” (as the ads promise) we’re treated to the G-rated striking of sexy poses, stylized simulations of heavy petting, and discussions about screwing. (Which makes lines like a character’s declaration, “It’s disgusting with all this sex!” less titillating than downright puzzling.) While there’s enough “talk” to fill a class lecture there’s not enough “show” to fill the small black box stage, unoriginally designed with yellowish lighting and drab flea market furniture. “If I stop talking I won’t exist!” cries a frustrated lost soul. To which one can only think, “Yes, you will!” – but only if you begin acting instead.

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WOW Cafe Theatre : 59-61 East 4th