Apr 20, 2012

Another fine review for ANESTHESIOLOGIST

Steven Star (left) and Tadeo Garcia perform in the Overtime Theater's staging.
Photo: Courtesy, Bryan Ortiz / SA
“For the Love of an Anesthesiologist” opens with a masked man in a trench coat using a rope to slowly drag a trunk across a bar.

The scene has the feel of something from a Greek myth ... until the man's back seizes up and he stops short, groaning in pain and shoving the mask from his face. Creepiness gives way to comedy, setting precisely the right tone for what unfolds in the hour-long piece, the current offering at the Overtime Theater.

The dark comedy, written by Dallas-based playwright Brad McEntire, is set in a tiki bar somewhere between life and death. This is the confusing universe where Alfred (well-played by Tadeo Garcia) finds himself after pulling his lanky frame out of that trunk.

At one point, he winds up caught in a who's-on-first-esque loop with Man in the Trenchcoat (Steven Star, who slips gracefully in and out of various characters). Alfred asks, “Where am I?” To which the Man responds, “You're here!”

Tended by a waitress with a heart of gold named Hank (played with strong timing by Mary Goodhue), Alfred indulges a fondness for fire and struggles to make sense of what's happened to him. That includes sorting out his messy romantic life. He was caught between two women: A crisp anesthesiologist (Halen George) and the forceful, riding-crop-wielding Contessa (the very funny Julienne Ponce).

Director Bryan Ortiz — who also created the effective sound design — has done a great job of creating a weird little universe in which all of these goings-on make sense. Some credit for that also goes to lighting designer Steve Wire, whose well-thought-out design helps indicate shifts through time and into various realities.

The piece is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and well worth catching. Those who go this weekend may want to stick around for the late-night show: McEntire is slated to perform his solo piece “Chop,” in which a guy discovers the world of amputation fetishists, at 10:30 p.m. today and Saturday. Tickets to that show cost $7.

“For the Love of an Anesthesiologist” can be seen at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through May 12, with one matinee at 3 p.m. April 29, at the Overtime Theater, Blue Star Arts Complex, 1414 S. Alamo, Suite 103. No performance May 4. Tickets cost $9 to $12. Call 210-557-7562 for reservations or visit theovertimetheater.org to buy tickets online.


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