Ben Clawson’s suite of three plays about the madness of the limbic brain as fueled by testosterone, “Cave/Men,” produced by Strange Dog Theatre Company, is now playing at Luna Stage. The three men in this spin cycle of plays get to show a host of facets, each of their roles very different from the ones preceding. The programming of the three was also perfectly done, making for a very memorable arc. Brian Parks, Joe Drechsel, and Jerome R. Shuler Jr. are a trio of troubadours, who sing the songs of urban legend and the boomerang of Karma, which always brings around the appropriate result, all on its own time.
Clawson writes men’s and women’s voices with great character and discretion, as if he’s transcribing existing conversations and who knows where the characters echoes resonate from or where they’re headed? All three plays remain with you, the way a garlicky spicy dish reminds you of your earlier dalliance.
The opening, “Dare,” is all about what influences our choices–we open on the Morning After the Night Before and make some dark discoveries about what happens when the aftermath of a party goes awry after a date with Lucy—In the Sky—With Diamonds. The centerpiece, “39 Hemlock,” is a psychological trip down a very twisted road that is far from yellow brick and ends up very close to home. Tendrils will tickle your memory, was the story in the Post? the National Enquirer? the true Internet? Only Google knows. The final piece is the one I keep coming back to in my mind–“Room Number One.” Life has a way of reminding us that everything that happens to us happens for a reason. What if those reasons came to you one by one? This is “No Exit” for Millennials.
All in all, this is a very satisfying evening of theater that becomes a bonding as well–the audience, the cast under Scott Cagney’s expert direction, and the interplay of the folksy plain spoken music between acts keeps us at the essential. Strange Dog, strange and well done evening!
“Cave/Men” is playing for two more weekends, through June 27, only. Get your tickets now at www.strangedogtheatre.com
–it’s an intimate space and seats are going fast!