A handgun. Vengeance in a small town. A game of chance to decide who dies. Feel like laughing? Sure — when tension runs this high, everything is comically absurd, especially when the cast members themselves don’t know who among them will be blown away. Oh — did we mention this is a play? It’s Down to This by Sleepwalkers Theatre, the innovative company that exists to push limits on stage. Tonight, a character named Maria has a .38 special, and she’s caught up in something bad. Four other characters enter the minimalist set one by one, each offering an intense reversal of what we thought we knew about the situation. The tension (and laughter) escalate, and eventually a high-stakes game decides who gets it. None of the cast members knows how it ends until it ends. The play was written by Adam Chanzit (whose surname, we’ll point out, could be pronounced to fit the theme perfectly). His work has been performed across the nation, and his feature-film screenplay 3 Nights in the Desert is in post-production. Because of the alternate endings, Sleepwalkers offers you a game of chance: attend the performance a second time and pay half the ticket price. Absurd games of chance have a long history in the theater. In the early 20th century the Dadaists staged a play in which one of two actors — neither knew which — would shoot the other one in the head with a real gun and a real bullet. It didn’t happen; a riot broke out instead. Take that however you want.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: May 3. Continues through May 26, 2012