This Halloween weekend, the small black box stage at the Buntport Theatre hosted a 90-minute examination of tone, tailoring and Boston Market rotisserie chicken.
First on stage That One Guy and His Sister, gathered together in what should be a solemn occasion to remember and bury the titular dead cat, Mr. Batman. However, the tone is not exactly mournful as one of the characters is proudly showing his Baltimore Ravens briefs. His sister didn’t like the suit he had chosen, so he took it off.
He rambles about Edgar Allan Poe incessantly, to the dismay of His Sister, His Best Friend (who arrives later to boost the numbers of the sad occasion) and eventually, of Burt.
Burt’s introduction is where the merely unique becomes genuinely absurd. He is the discarded suit, another man’s suit bought from a thrift store to commemorate, who else, but Edgar Allan Poe, who was found and died in another man’s suit.
That One Guy leaves the suit in a pile of leaves in the yard, but after a brief blackout, the suit arises, and begins to address the audience. He is self-deprecating and awkward, yet eloquent in his portrayal of the characters and use of literary anecdote.
From there things become more absurd, That One Guy invites Burt onto his Poe-themed podcast and becomes possessive of the suit for his speaking ability. His Sister invites Burt to watch her massage her face and to go out for Chipotle. And His Best Friend begins to hate Burt for stealing the attention from That One Guy, and he attempts to win it back via Poe themed shirts.
The show is weird, but uniquely appealing for all its quirks. The plotline is self-aware and clever, using numerous fourth-wall breaks and direct asides. While Burt and That One Guy discuss whether there is truly a difference between the Creepy and the Absurd, they are within a play that embraces both.
It should be noted that one searching for a moral to this production would be loath to find one. While Poe once stated that it was necessary to have an ending and the tone of a work in mind while creating, this work seems to have neither. It simply ends with little explanation of the things that had unfolded, as if that was the goal all along.
The special effects were not entirely convincing. It was easy to see the figure behind the suit, and the lightening effects were nothing if not exaggerated. But within the setting of the Absurd, where it is reasonable for clothing to come to life and for Boston Market rotisserie chicken to be lauded above all other chickens, this seems fitting..
Using awkward yet self-aware humor and a complete disregard for reality, Buntport Theatre creates a uniquely spooky comedic production that you can and should see through Nov. 18.