nytheatre.com review by Kimberly Wadsworth
June 13, 2009
According to the advance materials, Your Lithopedion is about a serial killer who undergoes a crisis of conscience and forms a 12-step program to help himself and other serial killers overcome their compulsion. Unfortunately, that plot—or any plot—seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the onstage action.
Lithopedion (Christian Toth) is the serial killer in question—"Lithopedion" is his name, by the way—and the only other character is his wife (Lillian Wright), referred to only as "Wife." The two actors are the best things about this production: Wright is relentlessly oblivious and eerily perky, a sort of Stepford Wife on mescaline, while the loose-limbed Toth plays Lithopedion with a perpetual somber blankness and creepy detachment—except for when he listens to '80s pop music, which makes him sing along and dance gleefully (yes, the show does make use of the Talking Heads song "Psycho Killer"). No matter what the script throws at Toth and Wright, they cheerfully jump in and go along for the ride.
It's a shame, then, that Justin Maxwell's script doesn't really coalesce into a script as such. Maxwell seems to have focused solely on giving the actors the strangest scenes possible. In one scene, Lithopedion does nothing but diligently sharpen three kitchen implements—a knife, a fork, and a spaghetti strainer—one by one, before throwing each over his shoulder into a pile on the floor. Once the spaghetti strainer is sharpened, the scene is done. Wife attempts to seduce Lithopedion in another scene by simply grabbing each of his limbs one by one and trying to grind against them, as he passively looks on, puzzled. In the opening scene, Lithopedion intones that he has picked up flowers for Wife—and then dumps a bag of rocks onto the floor at her feet. Some scenes do allude to Lithopedion's "habits," and his attempts to reform, but those scenes are few and far between amid rambling scenes involving stuffed animals or gazebos or a pregnant belly.
Maxwell has a definite eye for the bizarre, and director Toby Ring Thelin strikes the right darkly satirical tone. But the script would have been much better served with a framework to fit into, rather than simply giving us a disconnected series of strangeness that left me wondering, as David Byrne once sang, "Qu'est-ce que c'est?"