Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Fé in the Desert 

Introspective gangsters on coke! Tarantino-like play is fun, but doesn't fully realize its potential

Jessica Hagedorn's new play about a couple getting robbed by some soul-searching gangsters over the course of one coke-fuelled night has all the great elements of a theatrical Pulp Fiction. It's got drugs, violence, an out-of-order chronology, and even a scene of two hit men in a car debating proper linguistics, reminiscent of Sam Jackson and John Travolta talking about a Royale with cheese. Hagedorn ups the ante by throwing in high fashion, fine wine, and even a musical dance number stealing choreography from SNL's "Dick in a Box." So why isn't this show theatrical gold? Probably for the same reason all the Tarantino rip-offs have failed: It is very difficult for a director, writer, and actors to strike the right balance between absurd dialogue, graphic violence, and suspenseful believability. Hagedorn also brings in intriguing themes about faith, the paranoia of living deep in the desert, and long delayed homecomings, but none gets adequately pursued and she often switches to campy humor when there should be a dramatic push. Campo Santo's production team creatively employs security cameras, video screens, a working electric garage door, and first-rate sound design to set these fine actors in a remote and lonely desert. Don't get me wrong, is enjoyable, but if the disparate elements clicked together, it would be brilliant. — Nathaniel Eaton


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"