MEGHAN O'CONNOR/THE HOYA
MEGHAN O’CONNOR/THE HOYA

Seldom have I gone into a theater to see a play knowing little about the production and then left in a state of amazement and confusion. The Walsh Black Box Theatre, in which “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” is performed, is just down the odd set of stairs to the right when you enter the Edmund A. Walsh Memorial Building from 36th Street. Upon entering through the inconspicuous doors (which I did not know existed until the night I went to see the play) you enter what has been appropriately named a black box. Behind a set of curtains lies the stage, littered with inconspicuous cacti, a moon playing the violin, a scantily clad sleeping cat and square-shaped boulders.

What happened during the next 90 minutes still has me perplexed. In the middle of the California desert, Gabriela (Zoe Lillian [COL ’13]) waits for her husband Benito (alumnus Joe Grosodonia [COL ’10]) to come home from the Gulf War. While waiting for her husband, the lonely army wife seeks comfort from the moon and her cat, both of which can talk. Although this sounds like a reasonable premise, things quickly take a turn for the surreal.

The cat, played by Justine Underhill (COL ’11), gives advice to her owner while trying to escape the aggressive romancing of the overly sexual coyote (Robert Duffley [COL ’13]). The moon, which is played by Miranda Hall (COL ’11), sings and plays the violin while secretly trying to seduce Gabriela. Then the funniest character of the play, Martin (Ryan Merlini [COL ’14]), is only 14 years old and never ceases to stop begging Gabriela to let him impregnate her.

 

Mental and emotional endurance come in handy when Benito returns home, hungry and ready for some lovin’. One damaged from the war and the other desperate for deep conversation, this reunited couple spends the majority of the play arguing, screaming and partaking in intense love making sessions that last a whole 20 seconds.

 

The majority of the drama comes from Gabriela’s desire to reconnect with the man she fell in love with when she was 15 years old, back in the good ol’ days in Puerto Rico. Gabriela pursues Benito with the conviction of a sex-craved coyote looking for some household cat. Gabriela uses elaborate metaphors and articulate descriptions to express how she feels: “Benny, I’m not trying to bust your balls. I just wish I had the words for all the thinking … ” Still, Benito fails to understand the pain she went through having to be alone during the years in which he was overseas. “You use words like some people use razor wire,” he complains to Gabriela.

 

The problem with their blazing arguments is that you want to agree with both of them. Perhaps it’s the unexpected magnificence of Gabriela’s acting or the impressive screaming from Benito, but watching these two argue is like watching a tennis match between your two favorite tennis players — and both are on fire.

 

Without spoiling the ending, this play meddles with the concept of reality to the point that you’ll believe the talking cat and moon are more real than the man in a uniform and boots.

 

With a very limited amount of props, the cast does a great job working with the set. But again, it must be reiterated that the best part of the play is the acting. Perhaps the character with too few lines for her ability is the cat (portrayed by Underhill), whose romance with the coyote proves both disgusting and hilarious. There is something about a coyote telling a cat that he’ll pleasure her to the point at which all of her nine lives will have orgasms that makes me think that this isn’t a normal play. Trust me, if you think this review paints the picture of a bizarre play, wait until you see the real deal — it’s worth the $10.

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