If you’re looking for an intimate evening at the theuh-tuh this weekend, you’re in luck. Opening tonight at Pomona College is Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, directed by Scripps senior Laura Steinroeder. This play stars CMC senior Tori Gaines and Pomona alum John Maidman ’11. CMC freshman Iris Liu and I got a sneak peek at this hilarious yet devastating performance, and we fell in love—not with each other, but with the characters.
The play follows the progression of Kayleen and Doug’s relationship in an unconventional manner. First of all, each scene jumps from one stage of their lives to another based on various gruesome injuries they incur—but not in a chronological order. Second, there is no backstage. If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes, from costume to set changes to make up, you’ll get to see it front and center.
The play’s scenes are set in the most unusual places, ranging from a funeral, to a middle school nurse’s office, and to an ice skating rink. It was interesting to see how the scenes set in the future refer to past occurrences, that we then got to see as the play explored the characters’ past interactions. The unusual progression of the play kept us feeling anxious, and intensified the connection we had with the characters. With each passing scene a feeling of frustration overcame us. However, this feeling was tied with a sensation of excitement as to what would come of Doug and Kayleen. Believe me when I say you will be at the edge of your seat the entire time, if not because of the storyline, then because you will be falling off your chair laughing at the ridiculousness in this production.
As the night went on, Iris and I relived our childhoods through Kayleen and Doug’s experiences, and, as each scene ended, we couldn’t help but smile at each other. We left the theater feeling refreshed, delighted—and a little nauseous. To understand what we mean, you’ve got to come and see it for yourselves! Bring a friend—or ten—and you’re in for a heart-wrenching and laugh out loud night. But beware, you might find yourself wanting a relationship like theirs, screwed up as it is.
Gruesome Playground Injuries is being performed at Allen Theater on Pomona Campus tonight and Saturday night at 8pm. Don’t be late!
Thank you Iris for helping me write this and for being my date at the theuh-tuh!