Posted on April 28, 2014

Review

Gruesome performance endears audience

Stories of love and living “happily ever after” have been far too over played.

Days after seeing “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” thoughts of my high school years and memories of chivalry and absolute love coming from my twisted mind were still pouring out. It was apparent the idea of “happily” ever after was not the theme of this play, produced during two weekends in April by Laramie County Community College’s theater department.

Originally written by Rajiv Joseph, the play took the audience through the lives of two 8-year olds who fell in love, seemingly at first sight, with growing intrigue of each other’s acquired injuries. Personally, I have never become excited over someone else’s vomit, but to each his own.

During the course of 30-odd years, the two rendezvous multiple times, each time suffering a new injury, reuniting their twisted souls.

Static backdrops of scene—more often than not of dimly lit hospital rooms, EKG meters chirping, and an eerie cemetery—were shown from a projector. Low ambient sounds and music and the use of only two characters who charade themselves around the whole stage made it easy to follow along without many distractions and helped the actors become the main focus of the performance, as if the loud and obnoxious and often childish attitudes of both didn’t suffice in keeping my attention.

Actors Megan Kraushaar and Josh Kimmel transitioned seamlessly from playing witty, quickly talking adolescents to foul-mouthed, chain-smoking adults and back again. The two seemed as if they were made to act together. The love meant to be felt between the characters, star-crossed and intangible, pulsated throughout the 90-minute play. At one point in the story, Doug, played by Kimmel, finds out that Kayleen, played by Kraushaar, has slept with her current boyfriend, and it wasn’t completely consensual.

Kimmel did an amazing job at expressing the hatred and anger of what most men would have felt given the same situation. Kraushaar had her own brilliant moment in the limelight in the scene after Kayleen’s father had died, the pain and sorrow Kayleen was going through was felt by the audience. I almost shed a tear—but my nose was definitely stuffy.

I didn’t care much for the colorful language, but the play was rated mature audiences only.

While “Gruesome Playground Injuries” was not meant to be a happily ever after story, love certainly lingered after the curtain call.


Playhouse prepares
for play rarely performed