Theater & Performing Arts

Monster in the Dark

When: Feb. 14-16, 8 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 17, 5 p.m. 2008

The title of foolsFURY's first company-created play, Monster in the Dark, sounds much less interesting than it actually is. Doug Dorst's story appears to be set in a standard-issue authoritarian dystopian future but gradually blossoms into a linguistically and visually sumptuous allegory of excesses very much present in present-day society, one which really doesn't need to be close to three hours long. The company puts a strong emphasis on physical theater, and that's evident throughout the play as lovers balance on each other's arms and knees and bodies appear to bob above and below water that isn't there. People speak in a jargon of hybrid words and unusual usages that's mostly understandable and often quite funny. Each of the six actors plays multiple roles, which helps keep things fresh while also fleshing out the world they've created. Beth Wilmurt is particularly delightful as a prim schoolteacher who tries to stick to the approved "structiculum" but can't help remembering the less propagandistic endings the children's stories used to have. Through February 17 at Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley) or 800-838-3006.

Sam Hurwitt

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