Unlike an ordinary knot, a mathematical knot, such as a figure 8, cannot be untied. Likewise, the troubled souls in Phinneas Kiyomura's discerning drama stay inextricably linked, sometimes by blood, sometimes by chance and always by their fallibly human behavior. Co-directed by Kiyomura and Jerry Kernion, Figure 8 (The Seven Deadly Sins Plays) ignites around a celebrity musician named E (Alex Elliott-Funk, in some of the evening's best work) as he wrestles with the vituperative goading of two invisible interviewers. The scene blazes to a climax; it's then followed by seven scenes depicting E's family and associates as they engage in adultery, incest and assault, among other sordid pursuits.
The most entertaining performance within this grim, albeit humor-laced panorama comes from Kirsten Vangsness as a loopy gal who initiates her own porn enterprise after she's fired from her job; her dismissal prompts her to attack and permanently brain-damage her supervisor (Michelle Gardner). Also notable is Trevor H. Olsen as a man wrestling with remorse.
Videographer Bryan Maier's camera records the onstage action throughout, projecting it in real time on either side of the tiny proscenium to bring about a heightened emotional punch. Not every segment is equally strong; several might be intensified with pruning.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 24. Continues through April 1, 2012

LA Weekly