It has been said that the true measure of any drama is the degree to which it implicates its audience. If so, British playwright Mark Ravenhill's unflinching 2006 flaying of artistic pretense must be judged a harrowing and hilarious triumph. Though the target of Ravenhill's satire is "the Group," a close-knit circle of nameless, 30-something artists, his subject is the corrosive yet universal human reflex of envy at the success of even the dearest of friends. Especially the dearest of friends. In the case of the Group, the bitterness is directed at a former comrade (Jessica Lamprinos) whose art has catapulted her into the stratosphere of art-world superstardom. When a weekend of skinny-dipping at the art star's opulent home puts her into a coma, the Group conspires in a malicious revenge that only makes explicit the pettiness of soul that has condemned them to artistic obscurity. Monkey Wrench Collective director Dave Barton's inventive staging (a remount of the company's acclaimed 2010 production) uses rock tunes and choreography (by Angela Ann Lopez and Lee Samuel Tanng) to shape the Group into a kind of predatory, 10-person Greek chorus and put a delirious knife edge on Ravenhill's somewhat abstract but wickedly incisive text. Flight Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through June 17. (800) 838-3006, brownpapertickets.com/event/238689.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: May 18. Continues through June 17, 2012