Horrible Child by Lawrence Krauser is an absurdist, early-Albee-like play that tells the story of a family gone horribly awry. P (Lee Ordeman) and Q (Delia Taylor) have given birth to a hairy, sexless monster they call Horrible Child (Daniel Eichner). When Terrible (Greg Twomey), the exterminator called to deal with the monster, arrives several years late, things do not go as planned.
This four actor play is benefited by the performances of four truly fine actors. Lee Ordeman and Delia Taylor are perfectly in sync as the uptight, sadistic parents, and Daniel Eichner is both funny and moving as the not so horrible Horrible Child. It is in these tiny real moments amongst the absurdity where Eichner really shines – his retelling of Horrible’s bad day at school is particularly heartbreaking. Greg Twomey’s relatively brief time upon the stage is just as detailed and intriguing as the performances of the leads, and adds another bizarre comic level to this production as his character falls drastically out of extermination mode and into love.
Krauser’s style is very compelling – characters either speak in long, winding passages, falling in and out of unison, or in dialogue brief and rapid. Unexpected and sporadic use of rhyme, internal rhythm, and scattered malapropisms fill the script. One of this production’s major strong points is its attention to the details of the script – the dialogue is precisely choreographed in timing and pitch.
This production also contained some of the most interesting movement work I have seen in quite some time. Each actor had a very specific, bizarre way of moving that related to their character’s personality and point in the story arc. While fascinating in its own right (especially to anyone who has done some acting), the movement work at times distracts from the already dense and rich script.
Perhaps it is the intention of either the playwright or the director, but Horrible Child doesn’t seem to have a point of view. The acting, direction, script, and technical elements are all superb, but as a production they don’t seem to come together into a united whole. That being said, this production of Horrible Child did really make me think – and sometimes, that is the point.
Written by Lawrence Krauser
Directed by Jose Carrasquillo
Reviewed by Jessica Pearson
Running time: 75 minutes