Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor possesses a great asset in Rogue Machine’s current production of his one-man piece “House” — actor Donnie Smith. Smith astounds with his commanding stage presence, intense delivery and firm grasp of MacIvor’s ramblings of a man possessed.
The question of this diatribe is: What is Smith’s character Victor possessed by? Perfectly timed (but uncredited) light cues and Smith’s personal sound and light effects (thumping of his own head, snapping of his fingers, swinging of a bare lamp on the darkened stage) all heighten and emphasize the craziness that is Victor’s possession.
Brian Nitzkin deftly directs Smith to unsettlingly stare directly at audience members while firing streams of consciousness at a machine gun pace and pausing only for the staccato emphases. Victor is Smith’s tour-de-force! I’m not sure I’d welcome this volatile Victor in my home, let alone want to share space with him in a public arena. This is a strong piece of theatre, especially if you’re in the mood to spend 65 minutes with a one-man AA group.
As I’ve warned before in my review of another Rogue Machine production: bring a jacket as theater management must turn the air conditioning so high to accommodate the sweating performers.
—Gil Kaan, Culture Spot LA
Performances continue through Aug. 11, on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. Rogue Machine in Theatre Theater, 5041 Pico Blvd., LA 90019. For reservations, call (855) 585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.