Zastrozzi: The Master of Discipline

Based on one of Shelley’s early novels, George F. Walker’s interpretation of Zastrozzi is a darkly comic one. Zastrozzi (Ray Tagavilla), a self-proclaimed mastermind criminal of Europe and a devoted atheist, is bent on avenging the death of his mother by killing Verezzi (Chris Bell), a juvenile and delusional man of God. He enlists the services of his sidekick, the cruel dunce Bernardo (Don MacEllis), and his occasional lover, Matilda (Aimée Bruneau), a seductress with a penchant for abusive relationships. Verezzi, though, has long been protected by his tutor, Victor (Joe Ivy), the only character in the show who isn’t a caricature of himself. Victor bears the burden of sincerity in a world where everyone is either deliriously righteous or hilariously evil. Directed by Nik Perleros, the production’s melodramatic leanings work to great effect, creating engaging moments out of thoroughly absurd scenarios. When Zastrozzi and Matilda need favors from one another, they forgo all other methods of persuasion in favor of groveling, crawling around on the floor, and making cat noises. With Tagavilla’s and Buneau’s talent for feline interpretation, this gesture of sexuality and desire gives us more insight into the characters than any dialogue ever could have. BRENT ARONOWITZ

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 8. Continues through Oct. 31, 2009

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