Theatre Off Jackson Chinatown-International District
Feb 15–March 10, 8 pm
By Rich Smith
I wish the ruthlessness of capitalism on no artist (especially after seeing half of this play, which is essentially a string of origin stories about homeless animal-characters who live under I-5), but I wish the market would have somehow banished Sgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes into theatrical obsolescence before they started doing full-length features. The only thing to look at onstage—besides the actors and Branden Romans strumming a guitar—is a cardboard façade with one large screen in the middle flanked by two smaller screens. Behind the façade, Sgt. Rigsby and Ben Laurance sort of jiggle paper cutouts of animal-shaped characters in front of a light, and blurry silhouettes of those characters project onto the screens. There are exactly three movements the "puppet masters" employ. They can flop the puppets over to make the characters look left or right, they can move them left/right/up/down, and they can fly them in or out of the scene. The constraints of the genre are humorously limiting for about five minutes, but after that I got bored looking at animal-shaped blobs on a screen and started dreaming about other things Augustson could have used. Socks, paper lunch sacks, or his own two hands would have opened up more dramatic/comedic possibilities than these fixed little blobs.