Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PLAY: "The Secret War"

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.

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