He's in a coma, hooked to a respirator." With these simple words, Mel (Amanda Saunders) informs her husband, Ted (Paul Caramagno), via telephone, about their brain-dead son, a victim of an accidental drowning. It is one of the rare instances in Jenny Schwartz's eccentric drama where words and meaning coalesce into sensibility. For the remainder of the play, Mel and Ted become immersed in the seductive discord of a surreal world where language is increasingly divorced from context and reality, time and place contract, and the weight of loss is, literally, spoken out of existence. It's a bizarre mise-en-scene, compounded by the appearance of a tooth fairy (Tara Karsian), a transvestite flight attendant (Jeremy Shranko) and a curvaceous b-girl (Andrea Grano). With a nod to the absurdist canon, and perhaps Lewis Carroll, Schwartz's use of clichés, idiom and chatter is at times brilliant and funny, though the verbal effusion obscures the searing emotional and psychological pain at the heart of the piece. There is an appropriately other-worldly resonance about director Rory Kozoll's staging, nicely accented by Kristie Roldan's lighting. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m., through Feb. 19. (323) 653-4667.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 14. Continues through Feb. 19, 2012
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