SKID, Dolphinback Theatre Company, at Live Bait Theater. Playwright Laura Albrecht introduces us to a very articulate serial killer in her merciless monologue. Billed as "post-modern Gothic," it offers "John" a forum for whatever thoughts creep into his homicidal head: that what made Marilyn Monroe ("a wet dream breathed into life") irresistible was her fragility; how America "admires survivors but loves victims"; and how Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy were "divinely driven" artists whose "rage would explode into beauty."
Denying that his crimes can be explained by nurture or nature, John describes how he killed several supposedly disposable women in order to expose their "lies" and create a "mask" for himself, deceiving an easily duped world. Both taunting and haunted, this rapist-murderer shares the details of a snuff film he saw and the executions he's committed, combining poetic passages about his victims' hair with excruciating descriptions of their deaths. Citing chaos theory, he pretends that he carries physical anarchy in his pocket to unleash against those who resist him.
Eighty minutes of gag-reflex confessions, Skid is alternately engrossing, predictable, and repellent (the title refers to the traffic fatalities John imagines he can trigger). As directed by New Yorker Kevin Hale, John Pieza delivers his lines with an ebullience and ingratiating charm that make them all the more macabre. We like to explain serial killers away, so it's hard to take when one explains himself without extenuation or excuses and remains a mystery.