The title of Joshua Fardon's off-center evening of darkly unsettling one-acts is strictly ironic. In three short-short bouts and a second-act main event, Do Not Disturb disarms its audience with the prospect of a seemingly inconsequential satire of mildly transgressive social sparring that then abruptly reverses itself by confronting its characters with a profoundly disturbing self-knowledge.
The evening's Rosetta stone is possibly the shoot-the-messenger punchline offered by the fable-like "Soon My Angel Came Again," in which a couple (Kjai Block and understudy Andrea Ruth in the performance reviewed) finds the complacent illusions of their marriage under siege by a truth-telling angel (Tricia Munford) that has somehow been conjured via a magical elixir.
If the solipsistic characters of Act One emerge mostly unscathed, Act Two's "Rise" is where the playwright draws metaphorical blood. That's when divorced agoraphobe and theoretical mathematician Kevin (a sublime Troy Blendell) is roused from the loneliness of his isolation by a visit from Elizabeth (understudy Jenny Flack), an antic Facebook stalker who is either a figure from his distant past or deepest subconscious.
Director Kevin Hoffer effectively exploits the comic tensions in the play's increasingly surreal air of mystery while never losing sight of the potential for redemption Fardon finds in even the most stunted of the evening's misfits.
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Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; through May 31. (323) 856-8611, theatreofnote.com.
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