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No Rules: Terrifying Subliminal Messages in Suicide, Inc.

Denizens of No Rules’ ‘Suicide, Inc.’ talk blissfully of death and potlucks.
(Photo: C. Stanley Photography)

No Rules Theatre Company’s name is the most astounding case of deception since Delilah cavorted with Samson and ate his hair. They have one very distinct rule, a rule they display as prominently as the red lights of Amsterdam’s soiled doves. Their one rule, my dear readers, is to confound and flummox Xander Strange with every artistic breath they exude.

Well, excuse my language, but may the hairs on their derrieres turn to hammers and beat them slowly to ruin!

My confusion began upon entering the theatre. There were four seating areas set around a white playing space. “Where on earth am I supposed to sit?” I exclaimed at full volume. A filthy hobo wearing a shirt that said ‘Arena Stage’ informed me that I could sit anywhere. “You mean I’m supposed to choose?” I replied aghast. “Yes, that’s the idea, it’s up to you,” my unwashed interlocutor said smiling. I silently shook my fists and gnashed my teeth at him for several minutes before a No Rules peon told me to sit down as the show was about to begin.

I found a seat, somewhere, I was lost in a fog of rage and darkness. I mumbled to myself ‘What the hell is happening? Where am I? Why do they hate me so much?”

The lights blasted on, bright as the sight of a thousand suns. There were men onstage, lots of men, too many men. They all seemed sad. And angry. And constipated. They talked of suicide. And notes. And dead people. I realized, quite profoundly, that I had entered hell. Not some artistic representation of the 9th circle mind you, but quite literally the abode of the beast. I grabbed the patron next to me by the hand, and began to nibble on their knuckles, only to realize there was no one sitting next to me. What . . . the . . . fuck . . . ?

I tried to follow the plot as the men rattled on about hallmark cards, and a company that helped people write notes for suicidal patrons, and ghosts, and cupcakes. They yelled. They cried. They wrote. They smelled. There were pieces of paper taped to the walls (I had assumed they were part of the set) and as the manic flatulence of the play careered ever onwards, they seemed to grow and encroach upon my person, deepening my ever-increasing sense of dread.

My palms began to sweat, my brain began to burn, and I started emitting rattling noises from my esophagus. A male prostitute sitting behind me said ‘Can you please be quiet?’. I pulled a pen from my pocket and wrote on my program ‘Shut your face, you malignant sloptart!’ It was then that I truly noticed the title of the play plastered on the front of the program: ‘Suicide, Incorporated’. I couldn’t believe I had been so blind. Clearly No Rules Theatre Company was trying to get me to kill myself. Every word, every gesture, every aspect of this experience was a call to end it all.

I began rearranging the letters in ‘Suicide, Incorporated’ and to my horror another cruel missive from the No Rules horde: ‘Suicide, Incorporated‘ became ‘O Son, I’d puree a critic!” (forgive my poetic liberties with punctuation, the message remains clear).

At this point, the scraggly hippy in the play was crying about his missing or dead or ugly wife, I’d lost all sense of the plot. And ye gods, my hands began moving towards my throat as the play begged me to choke the life out of myself. Zounds, it was winning, kind readers! Good lord make it stop, tell that Joe Isengard to stop talking, tell that Spencer Trinwith he’s really tall, tell Joshua Morgana I’ll do anything he asks of me . . .

Thankfully at that moment the play ended.

After the curtain call, in a final moment of treachery, one of the lead actors revealed himself to be none other than Brian Sutures, the co-artistic director of No Rules Theatre Company. He seemed very pleasant but quickly turned into a beggar speechifying about being poor and hating America. I just held up my middle fingers all through his treasonous diatribe.

I stormed out of the theatre into the blazing heat of a June afternoon, gasping for breath, tears streaming from my eyes like a person who’d made the ill-advised career choice of being an onion grater.

No Rules Theatre Company? More like SATAN RULES Theatre Company!” I screamed to the heavens, and was swiftly knocked to the ground by a passing Capital Bikeshare cyclist.

0.35 out of 1 star


About xanderstrange

orphan and arts critic

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