SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE THE WORLD ENDS (A Final Evening With the Illuminati), Trap Door Theatre. Larry Larson and Levi Lee's tragicomedy about a whacked-out authority figure, Reverend Eddie, and his fawning sidekick, Brother Lawrence, is a very strange work. And with its alternating scenes of reality (Brother Lawrence tending to the raving-mad Reverend) and truly bizarre hallucinations (the Reverend and Death playing basketball), it could be pretty tedious.
Happily, director Michael S. Pieper's vision is focused enough to keep this highly fragmented play from spinning into chaos. For instance, he deftly indicates the difference between dream sequences and reality by having his two-man cast, Eric Johnson and Chuck Raucci, play the hallucinations in a lighter, slightly broader comic style. The two actors are also clever enough to mine the play's sporadic funny moments, as when Saint Paul and Saint Timothy casually meet at a gay bar, and Paul elaborates on his plans to play up the misogynistic and sexuality-fearing elements of Christianity.
Which is not to say that the play is any less baffling. Only that Larson and Levi's mindfuck is more palatable when it's performed by people who know what they're doing. --Jack Helbig