White Trash Wedding and a Funeral, Factory Theater | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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White Trash Wedding and a Funeral, Factory Theater


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White Trash Wedding and a Funeral, Factory Theater.

Picture Charles Manson with impeccable comic timing and on speed and you might comprehend half the bewitching intensity of Michael Mazzara in White Trash Wedding and a Funeral: he establishes an unprecedented standard for comic terror. As the high-strung guttersnipe Earl, "king of the septic tank cleaning business" and target of his gold-digging bride-to-be's assassination plot, Mazzara does for the Factory Theater's imaginary American Legion Post #1977 what Jack Nicholson did for the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Rarely has comedy been this ferocious.

Luckily, the other 11 cast members keep up with Mazzara, or at worst trot along only a few steps behind, pushing this high-camp trailer-park soap opera into the stratosphere. Director Nick Digilio rarely lets up on the screaming, cussing, and vulgarizing, but his focus is so tight and his pacing so swift he turns a potential one-note gross-out fest into a craftily orchestrated symphony of obscenities. Playwrights Mike Beyer and Bill Havle shouldn't confuse comedy with people screaming "fuck," but more often than not they create delightfully grotesque and eccentric scenes. When the preacher at an impromptu funeral realized he was standing on the dearly departed's hair, for example, I laughed so hard I thought I might wet myself. Maybe Beyer and Havle could work me in as a bit.

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