Review: Thirst at Khaos Company Theatre 

click to enlarge Eugene isn't so sure about that new ending.
  • Eugene isn't so sure about that new ending.

Fledgling theater company Khaos is sticking by its mission statement, which reads, in part, “In an effort to support actors, KCT invests its profits in their talent rather than elaborate sets and believes that professional theatre can exist without excessive frills.”

That approach pays off on the whole with Thirst, Eugene O’Neill’s one-act play about strangers on a lifeboat that's as minimalist as they come: a cast of three, no scene changes, and a run time of under an hour. Still, Khaos could've pared things down further by relying on the old standby of substituting plain, black clothes for realistic costumes — a sartorial blank slate. Instead, the cast looked like it just stepped out of the J.C. Penney summer catalogue, with nary a rumple or stain to be found on anyone, or even any ruffled hairdos.

Dealing with the brunt of the dialogue, Ryan Maloney and Allie Dorn do a fine job inhabiting this desperate, miserable world, though they could stand some seasoning. Despair has a wide spectrum for an actor to explore, and experience is, sadly, often the best teacher.

Tyler Gordon stands out as the nearly wordless pariah of the group. His silent sailor has a strangely mystical presence. At one point, he even penetrates the fourth wall to deliver messages to the audience—although the show was refreshingly presented in the round, so I suppose the fourth wall is moot.  

It's a pity director Veronica Orech adapted the script, changing the ending — and with it, the entire tone of the play. And I mean Romeo-and-Juliet-living-happily-ever-after changed.

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