Sunday, August 3, 2014

"The Blood Brothers Present... Bedlam Nightmares, Part Three: Losing Patients"

By Byrne Harrison

The final curtain is drawing closer for the latest Blood Brothers show.  The four-part series ends in October with the much ballyhooed execution of the Blood Brothers.  Will it happen?  Well, Sister Blood doesn't survive episode three, so it appears it could. (If you want some background on the Blood Brothers, see some of the previous posts.)

"Losing Patients" features less gore than previous installments, but more intrigue as the stakes get raised.

As with previous installments of "The Blood Brothers Present... Bedlam Nightmares", "Losing Patients" features some short plays built into the framework of the Blood Brothers' incarceration in a hospital catering to the criminally insane.  The evening begins with an outstanding solo piece by Nat Cassidy (who often appears as a ghoulish troubadour in the Blood Brothers shows).  Directed by Patrick Shearer, "Who's There" features the talented Rebecca Comtois as a cop from a previous installment of the show, who is trapped in an abandoned area of the hospital, wandering through the halls with only her walkie-talkie to connect her with a partner who may or may not be there.  Comtois is a consistently strong actor, and she shines this creepy and claustrophobic piece.

The next short play, "Leslie and Sonia Forever" by Mac Rogers and directed by Pete Boisvert, features Leslie (Ivanna Cullinan), a character who has been integral to the "Bedlam Nightmares" series.  A disturbed woman who cheated on her husband with another woman, Leslie is normally the victim of the sadistic hospital guards.  At the bidding of Doctor Queen (Kristen Vaughan), the equally sadistic supervisor of the hospital, the older Blood Brother (Patrick Shearer) is left on his own to torture Leslie.  In a terrific twist that will clearly play out in the final installment, he breaks through to Leslie, pulling her out of her psychosis.  Troubled Leslie was a victim.  It looks like the new Leslie won't be.

The final play, and the longest of the three, is an outstanding piece full of teen angst, online betrayal and same-sex longing.  Deftly crafted by playwright Mariah MacCarthy, "Incitement" features a young, unpopular girl,  Shannon (Stacey Raymond), with a devastating crush on a popular classmate, Samantha (Sarah Matteucci).  After an initial sleep-over encounter that leads to a brusque rejection, Shannon creates online characters, a hot guy (Colin Waitt) to flirt with Samantha and a CIA agent (Stephanie Cox-Williams) who forces the naive Samantha to continue the relationship, with predictably disastrous consequences.  The play is a nice mix of ripped-from-the-headlines plot with a good eye for using theatricality to enhance a story.

The play that serves as the framework for the evening is "Losing Patients" by Mac Rogers, which features more of the interactions between Doctor Queen and the Blood Brothers (along with another inmate-turned-henchman, who is at Queen's beck and call, played by Roger Nasser).  In this Queen continues to drive a wedge between the once-inseperable brothers, finally winning the more brutal of the two (played by Pete Boisvert) over to her side.  While it is fun to watch Boisvert's usually brutal and thuggish Blood Brother regress into childlike behavior, it's amazing to see how Shearer's normally haughty and humorous Brother is stripped of all his power (and more importantly, his audience).  Watching Shearer play a a clever and desperate serial killer who is being backed into a corner is a delight, and I can't wait to see how the series ends.

Above all else, I hope it's bloody.

"The Blood Brothers Present… Bedlam Nightmares Part Three: Losing Patients"
Written by Nat Cassidy ("Who's There"), Mac Rogers ("Losing Patients" and "Leslie and Sonia Forever"), and Mariah MacCarthy ("Incitement")
Directed by Patrick Shearer ("Who's There") and Pete Boisvert ("Leslie and Sonia Forever" and "Incitement")
Featuring: Rebecca Comtois, Pete Boisvert, Patrick Shearer, Kristen Vaughan, Roger Nasser, Ivanna Cullinan, Stacey Raymond, Sarah Matteucci, Colin Waitt, and Stephanie Cox-Williams

Production Manager: Stephanie Cox-Williams
Production SM/Board Op: Robyne C. Martinez
Assistant Direction: Stephanie Cox-Williams
Fight Choreographer: J. Robert Coppola
Costume Designer: Karle J. Meyers
Gore/Prop Designer: Stephanie Cox-Williams
Graphic Designer: Pete Boisvert
Lighting Designer: Morgan Anne Zipf
Sound Designer: Patrick Shearer
Original Music: Larry Lees and Nat Cassidy
Producers: Pete Boisvert, Stephanie Cox-Williams, Roger Nasser, Patrick Shearer

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