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Terminus at Interrobang Theatre Company: Theater review

An exceptional cast relays Mark O'Rowe's harrowing intertwined monologues with sure footing in Interrobang's striking production.
 (Photograph: Claire Demos)
Photograph: Claire DemosTerminus at Interrobang Theatre Project
 (Photograph: Claire Demos)
Photograph: Claire DemosChristina Hall in Terminus at Interrobang Theatre Project
 (Photograph: Claire Demos)
Photograph: Claire DemosMichaela Petro in Terminus at Interrobang Theatre Project
 (Photograph: Claire Demos)
Photograph: Claire DemosKevin Barry Crowley in Terminus at Interrobang Theatre Project
By Dan Jakes |

Three nightmarish narratives overlap, tangle and writhe in Irish playwright Mark O'Rowe's pulsing one-act monologue play about a desperate trio searching for salvation. Finding themselves in three very different kinds of free falls, the nameless characters attempt to relay how their ordinary day-to-day hardships—loneliness, romantic betrayal, career tedium, self-loathing—morph into events far more surreal and ultimately grotesque.

On an adventurous date turned sour, a young woman (Michaela Petro) plunges off a construction crane and into the arms of an unsuspecting savior. Across town, a former teacher and rescue hotline agent (Christina Hall) recognizes the voice of an abused woman on the other end of the line and sets off on a rabbit hole chase to provide help. O'Rowe's most violent and macabre character, a lonely bachelor (Kevin Barry Crowley) who makes a damning bargain, elevates the otherwise realistic horrors in Terminus to something fantastical.

Fans of modern Irish theatre will likely find many of O'Rowe's tropes to be familiar—his alienating, bleak thematic tone is in line with other contemporaries like Martin McDonagh or Honor Molloy. Where folks like McDonagh seek out schadenfreude when delving into similar subject matter, though, O'Rowe sets himself apart in the likes of Brian Friel or Conor McPherson, similar artists who seem to empathize and tag along on their characters' trip through hell.   

Interrobang co-artistic director Jeffry Stanton's production stages those trips harrowingly with his exceptional cast. Stanton and company harness and ride O'Rowe's rhyming structure with a momentum that grows as it accelerates while never losing their footing. Even Mike Mroch's and Claire Chrzan deceptively simple, industrial set and lighting design reflect the production's maturity and precision.


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