Review: BRINGER OF DOOM at The Players Theatre

The world premiere of an award winning play

By: Apr. 17, 2023
Review: BRINGER OF DOOM at The Players Theatre
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If you've ever taken a moment to think about your purpose in this life, you've most likely come up empty. After a few thousand quizzical stares in the mirror, you soon decide to forfeit the win and find something more worthwhile you could be doing. Some of us make a habit of contemplation, drilling deep down into our internal workings to find such a miracle of an answer - one that evades, even taunts our troubled minds like a little kid playing hide and seek. Those forced to think about why they're here truly aren't, replacing feelings with obscure inklings of ideas of what would make things better. Some simply forgo the thoughts altogether and get lost in whatever makes this thing called life easier to bear.

Review: BRINGER OF DOOM at The Players Theatre Not quite as existential a premise as it is a means of wondering if (and how) we deserve better, one brave playwright decided to take the risk of turning a topic so profound and so relevant into something comical - a performance that is as much fiction as it is reality. Running with this idea that much of life is a show, of life imitating art and all the really fun theories that go along with that, there is this fundamental link: basically, that we're all missing something that isn't there. And with that did Joe Thristino go beyond the insecurities and awkwardness of living in a world where only each day matters as it comes and call out the dysfunctionality of life in the best way possible - in the form of laughter, which is the best medicine (unless accompanied by an exorbitant amount of alcohol and carbon monoxide). Then it's just an unexpected boatload of fun.

Written by Thristino and directed by Mark Koenig, Bringer of Doom celebrated its world premiere this past weekend at The Players Theatre in New York's West Village. Produced in association with Skimble Skamble Productions, this play is undoubtedly something special. Having always personally loved figuring out the puzzle that is one's existential turmoil, Thristino takes it one step further and asks the audience to participate in a wacky yet hardly farfetched reality his characters can't seem to take themselves out of. Not only that, but to believe that life could actually arrive at a point where all anyone can do at the end of it all is laugh - laugh at the absurdity of believing in any sort of power over what happens to us in this world (or the one thereafter).

A young woman with no other life goal than to exact vengeance upon her mother, finds a man passed out drunk on the floor of a local bar. From that moment forward, their relationship is formed on the basis of making her mother's upcoming visit one she'll never forget.

Lotte writhes in anger at the very mention of her mother, Esme, who once upon a time ruined her engagement (and life, in general). Upon meeting Demetrius at a bar, the two strike a deal and vow to make Esme's upcoming house visit something of a nightmare. With the plan to verbally attack her with whatever insults the duo can muster, Esme soon walks through her daughter's apartment door with her newly announced fiance, Clancy, close behind. Prim and proper, with the perfect air of pretentiousness about them, they are the ideal middle-aged couple (and quite proud of it).Review: BRINGER OF DOOM at The Players Theatre

From the moment they step foot in Lotte's future den of demise, what can only be described as a sort of bittersweet fiasco ensues. Plans for the big event that is her mother's anticipated beratement are more than simply dashed. What ensues is a battle of humananity vs. fate, as though some force swoops in and transforms a casual house visit into something no one could have ever predicted would happen. After all, the evening was only supposed to involve copious amounts of alcohol and a busted stove... not one of the four knows how quite to interpret the rest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this show, and have relayed my enthusiasm to quite a few people already. Although, I've gotten a number of blank stares when I explained it as a comedy. I think the comedic aspect of it lies more in the disfunction of these four then in the actual premise itself. These characters have all gone through some kind of loss that the audience knows very little about. Except for Clancy, who has quite the heavenly experience in the middle of Lotte's living room, they have each dealt with their grief in various ways.

After what the audience could imagine is many attempts of relinquishing the past, these four characters wind up in a single room with the purpose of bringing each other down another peg on the ladder. Instead of unwillingly remaining stranded in life, the simple question is posited: why not bring everyone else with you, in a final attempt at grasping at the straws of self importance?

Some crazy stuff happens from beginning to end, throwing into the mix moments of forgiveness, redemption and even hope. No matter the outcome, we root for these characters to hang on to their enthusiasm - even if the excitement revolves around dying to finally get out of that damn apartment. Watching this play is like taking medication that suddenlty stops working, and I truly appreciated it because of that. How life is completely inexplicable at times, and we're still expected to wriggle our way out of through the power of hope, of knowing something greater is out there for us. A lot of times, it's just not happening, and all we can do is laugh - just as Lotte and Demetrius do at the play's end, forever uncertain of what is going on.

Review: BRINGER OF DOOM at The Players Theatre Major kudos must go to the entire cast and crew that makes this seemingly small play into quite a production. Under Mark Koenig's direction, these characters come to the stage and keep their audience easily engaged in the events which unfold. And not simply engaged, but eager to see what happens to this bereft group next. Bimini Wright, Peter Kendall, Bridget Ann White and Jed Peterson round out a superb cast whose chemistry and energy on that stage is nothing short of amazing. They make what could have been a rather depressing story come to life in a way that, again, brings the audience to chuckle instead of think too hard about how closely the situation before them might resemble their own lives. Well, hopefully not all of it.

Bringer of Doom, written by Joe Thristino and directed by Mark Koenig, celebrated its world premiere at The Players Theatre (115 MacDougal Street) on April 7th; the production will run thru April 23rd. Ticket prices range from $49 - $69, and can be purchased by clicking here. Performances take place Thursday - Saturday at 7 pm, with a 3 pm Sunday matinee. Bringer of Doomed runs approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission. To find out more about the show and what The Players Theatre is up to next, take a look at their website here.

Photo Credit: David Lanson