Cult leaders are often charismatic, like Daniel (Jeff Lorch), a 32-year-old slacker who is finally being cut off by his father. Such leaders also dream irrationally big: Daniel doesn’t simply want to pay his rent, he wants to make millions, but without working too hard.
His friend Sam (Erik Odom), a drug dealer who oddly has never uttered a swear word in his life, aids and abets Daniel, providing the two rails of a cocaine-Adderall “screwdriver” that put Daniel’s train of thought on the fast track.
Loaded up, Daniel dreams up a religion based on uploading one’s genome to the “Supreme Computer.” He then insists that they travel to the Grand Canyon immediately to hash out the details. There, Daniel convinces a sexy, trust-fund hippie chick named Annika (Suzanne Quast), who “just likes the sound” of things, to become acolyte No. 1. Her comely allure, as well as the issue of sacrilege, creates friction between Daniel and Sam, and things quickly (and somewhat unrealistically) spiral out of control.
Director Mark L. Taylor pushes the action to extremes, which creates solid moments of physical comedy, especially from Lorch, who literally throws himself into Daniel’s wild-eyed brand of crazy. Odom, as Lorch’s straight man, delivers deadpan humor, while Quast is magnetically sultry.
At the same time, it becomes “crystal meth clear” that playwright L.R. Gordon’s characters are a bit too slightly drawn and exaggerated to take seriously, so the play’s satire of religion, slacker culture and American entitlement ends up lacking the gravity to truly slaughter our sacred cows.
Rogue Machine (in Theatre/Theater), 5041 Pico Blvd., L.A.; through Dec. 15. (855) 585-5185, roguemachinetheatre.com.
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: