Charming Absurdism in Pastel
Le Frenchword at Annex Theatre
Three actors in pastel outfits and lab coats take the stage. Carter Rodriguez (tall, wild-haired, in yellow) begins explaining black holes and the origins of the universe in a broad, physics-class lecture. Sachie Mikawa (short, peppy, in pink) keeps hijacking the conversation toward a topic more to her liking—cute bunny rabbits. As a gullible, easily excited moron (Ben Burris in blue, finding a mouth-breathing nondescript white-guy median between the two) listens, she explains the makeup of a "cuteness molecule"—the four pads of a rabbit's foot. Soon the whole lecture is derailed and the three are fighting over who gets sacrificed to a volcano god to save the universe.
The three actors, who perform under the name Le Frenchword, are playing in absurdist-comedy territory—Mikawa and Rodriguez's former clown-school teacher, George Lewis, directs the show—using mime to suggest a broad array of settings and props. One minute they are canoeing down a jungle river, the next they're pirates spying on an island where monsters roam, the next they're having awkward phone sex and giving birth to a Japanese teenage girl. They play types (the idiot, the straight man, the girly girl) and skillfully assume and abandon identities atop those types every few minutes. It's like a well-acted Three Stooges routine, plumped up on pretension and massive amounts of processed sugar.
By the closing sketch—involving something called the Last Lame Three-Legged Dying Cow of All Creation—you realize you've seen maybe six different stories about the creation of the universe. Then the three players come back out and sing a song explaining why being below average isn't the end of the world. Weird clown theater doesn't get much more charming than this.