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Open Stage Theater's "Jerry Rigged" is a treat for the attention-deficient.

Fast Theater


It's fast, furious, sometimes wickedly funny, and sometimes just wicked. It's "Jerry Rigged," a new play from Open Stage Theater. "We call it ADD theater," says Ivo Tomasini, Open Stage's founder and artistic director, referring to the attention deficiency that seems epidemic in our culture. "We've become used to everything being fast — fast food, fast cars, fast movies." Writing with Derek Gordon, Tomasini has developed an audacious piece of work designed to appeal to our ever-diminishing attention spans.

The play is structured like a variety show with a series of 18 short vignettes, including special appearances by local cross-dressing entertainer Suzi Wong. The format and the pace create a new kind of dramatic form that is equal parts performance art and vaudeville. "At times, you don't know where one skit ends and the next begins," Tomasini says. "[In some scenes] we kind of break out of character and it's like we're just talking to each other."

The topics that are zipped through during the course of the show include Y2K paranoia, media frenzy, the collapsing family, sexual predators, personal ads, vacations at the beach, and coping with modern-day fears. If the cavalcade of interactions seem thrown together to you — perhaps even jury-rigged — then you're not paying close enough attention.

Joining Tomasini and Gordon on stage are local fringe-theater veterans Justin C. Dray and Chris Evans. Though Tomasini's troupe is modest in its means, he's got major plans for the future. "We're very low budget, very high ambition," Tomasini says. After finishing its run at the Firehouse Theatre, the show will play at Live Arts Theatre in Charlottesville and then make the big leap to the Big Apple. Tomasini has booked the show at the Producer's Club in New York for the week before July 4.

"Jerry Rigged" plays at Firehouse Theatre, 1609 W. Broad St., at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through June 5. Tickets are $7. Call 254-7311 for

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