By Anne Washburn. Dir. Les Waters. With Maria Dizzia, Emily Donahoe, David Andrew McMahon, Garrett Neergaard, T. Ryder Smith. Connelly Theatre

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

FRIGHT NIGHT The cast of Apparition is scary good.

A play should not be able to scare you more than a movie. Sure, one of the performers could conceivably step off the stage and stick a steak knife in your eye ("Other than that, how was the show, Mrs. Lincoln?"), but for the most part, movies, those waking dreams, raise the gooseflesh. But just get out and see Anne Washburn's thrilling, hypnotic Apparition—it will frighten the living hell out of you. A crisply lyrical and darkly evocative series of monologues, scenes and choral sequences that examine fear of the unknown and unseen, Apparition gets under the listener's skin without spilling a single drop of blood. And director Les Waters doesn't just serve a first-rate text, he makes generous use of Jane Cox's insinuating, crepuscular lights and Darron West's ominous, pounding soundscape. So, during the increasingly horrific scene in which two demons tensely decide whether or not to eat some little living thing in a paper bag, just keep telling yourself, It's only a play, it's only a play....

Washburn evokes dread like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick: We never know if the madness and violence is coming from within the characters or without. Is the woman (Dizzia) who describes a terrifying first night in a desolate new apartment paranoid, or is there a maniac in the room? Did the sleeping young man (McMahon) accidentally stab his lover (Donahoe), or is she a ghost? And, again, what exactly is in the bag that those demons (Neergaard and the always transfixing Smith) are drooling over? Do you really want to know?
David Cote