A Play That Changes with the Roll of the “DIE”

Written by Doug Strassler on . Posted in Arts & Film.


New York night owls know to head downtown to throw caution to the wind and see where the night takes them. Well now a small ongoing show has given them yet another chance to expect the unexpected.

Joe Kurtz, the writer and a star of DIE: Roll to Proceed, playing Friday nights at The Red Room, presents a situation that could end up in myriad different ways. Seventy-two, if you want to be precise. George (Joe Kurtz) and Rob (Justin Anselmi) are roommates undergoing a particularly stressful day that includes an ultimatum thrown by George’s girlfriend Kate (Amanda Kay Schill). Finally, George reaches his breaking point, declaring that “I want God to decide everything for me.”

Well, David Williams (as acting emcee) then deifies his audience, allowing them to predict George and Rob’s future by rolling a die at three distinct points over the course of this 75-minute show, presented by Ashley C. Williams (perhaps better known as “the Human Centipede”) and Mind the Art Entertainment. A volunteer steps up (well, given the Red Room set-up, down) to roll a big foam die. Each of the six numbers portends a different outcome for DIE’s plot to continue along, answering such questions as whether George should propose to Kate and how they should address their delinquent rent. Christian De Gre’s smooth direction keeps the pace from sagging after each crossroads.

 

This is lowbrow stuff (one option includes male prostitution), to be sure, but the actors work harder than the material might lead you to believe. Anselmi and Kurtz seem game for absolutely anything, and very adroitly go with the flow of the die. The two of them work well off of each other, and seem to be having a lot of fun. Schill didn’t have quite as much to do, at least given the way the die spun on the night that I saw her, but she mimicked outrage offense with ease. Jonathan Siregar channels his inner Divine in a cross-dressing role as the hedonistic landlady Grizz. The droll Williams also earns a lot of laughs – yes, earns – with his antisocial banter among the audience and volunteers.

 

In truth, it probably takes multiple visits to the Red Room to see what DIE is really capable of, and to see which, if any, situations repeat and how the other scenarios might challenge the cast or offer them new opportunities to show off their skills. (And for those really hungry to find out all possible paths for the show to take, a book listing all of these scenarios is for sale at the theater.) Is the show high art? Nah. Does it make for diverting night out pre- or post-drinks? You’ll have to roll the die yourself to find out.

 

DIE: Roll to Proceed

Red Room, 85 E. 4th St. http://www.dierolltoproceed.com/. $15

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