The Devil in His Own Words
Directed by Lise Bruneau
Produced by Taffety Punk Theatre Company
Reviewed by Ronnie Ruff
Marcus Kyd of Taffety Punk Theatre Company is super interested in that guy downstairs with the horns and a penchant for causing mischief. So what do you do if the devil is your guy? Kyd spent a few years finding the best mentions and literary snippets of the fiery one in classic literature, the Bible and just about anywhere else. This is not to say of course that when all the research is done and texts lifted the results always work as a play – The Devil in His Own Words is what it is – a collection of over thirty examples of well delivered Satan prose from some of the most respected writers of our day and days past. Kyd is engaging as an actor, clearly in command of the material, although one hour into this tribute to the evil one we find ourselves becoming a bit weary of Flashpoint’s wooden seats from Hell and praying to God for an intermission. Director and company member Lise Bruneau keeps the show moving fluidly but the play still needs some revisions to keep the audience involved for the entire length of the performance.
Kyd moves from Milton to Dickens, Lord Byron to the Holy Qur’an all the while providing insight into how and why Satan performs his sinister duties. It is only when Kyd portrays the Devil as a bad stand up comedian does the show dip into camp. Is Satan truly the embodiment of all that is evil or is his world the end result of being thrown from heaven’s gates? The Devil in His Own Words provides no real answers for these questions but does illuminate the devil’s human side and his apparent self loathing.
On the positive side, Taffety Punk enlists the services of accomplished singer/songwriter Kathy Cashel to do the sound design and the results are very impressive. Mixing strummed electric guitar buzz with sound effects from the other side during scene transitions, Cashel brings a punk sensibility to theatre sound design. Her contribution to the performance is immeasurable and we hope to see much more of her art in the future.
The Devil in His Own Words makes use of some pretty interesting props including but not limited to a Paper Bag God complete with fluffy cotton ball hair and beard. With a red tail and sharply pointed horns, Beelzebub struts the stage with a distinct swagger that only accentuates history’s myths and legends of Satan and Hell.
Taffety Punk brings a fresh, vibrant outlook to the DC theatre scene using new techniques, unconventional props and edgy sounds in a way that still feels comfortable and welcoming. The Devil in His Own Words provides a vision of where the company is headed but falls short of showing the company’s real promise. If you like to experience theatre that melds classic techniques with fresh infusions of alternative theatrical techniques you should consider an evening with the Devil at Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab.
(Running Time 90 minutes – no Intermission) The Devil in His Own Words continues through August 26th at Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G Street NW, Washington, DC. Performances: Thurs – Sunday at 8 pm. Tickets: $10. Call 202-261-6612 or email your reservation request to: [email protected].