Director – Jason Leyva
Assistant Director – Branson White
Stage Manager – Stephanie Campbell
Set Design – Jason Leyva
Lighting Design – Branson White
Costume Design – Jason Leyva and Ellen Shaddock
Sound Design – Jason Leyva
Martin Mirkheim - Danny Macchietto
Accountant - Linda Much
Lauren Mirkheim - Jayjeny Smith
Robert - Chris Jordan
Jackie - Amy Cave
Kim - Aaron Lett
Marie - Heather Sturdevant
Roger - Sean Massey
Hotel Clerk - Joshua Hahlen
Security Guard - Andrew Aguilar
Doctor Waxling - John Pfaffenberger
Bus Driver - Steve Cave
Ron - Trey Albright
Pamfilo - Nathan Amir
Lee - Andrew Kasten
Terry - Ellen Shaddock
Reviewed Performance 10/10/2014
Reviewed by Elaine Plybon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Search and Destroy is best known as a screenplay, adapted from a script written for stage by Howard Korder. The film, produced in 1995, starred actors such as Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Illeana Douglas, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken. L.I.P. Service successfully translates the screenplay back into a stage presentation in their production.
The experience opens with a backlit projection of opening credits, bringing to mind a movie production. The credits, though containing a few typos, are well done and instilled anticipation of an action-filled production. The set, designed by Director Jason Leyva is simple - four simulated brick columns, the screen, with two chairs and a table which also serves as a desk, and even the interior of a car. The simplicity provides a setting for each scene while never detracting from the action.
Leyva brought together a cast which works well together and has a smooth dynamic. His transitioning between scenes was flawless and kept the pace high. The energy of the cast never faltered, and as I watched from my seat in the second row, I truly felt as though I was watching a movie. The entire cast delivered their lines in a manner that brought to mind a Tarantino film, with slightly over-exaggerated mannerisms and delivery. This was done equally and the result was a cool caricature of the life of Martin Mirkheim, well played by Danny Macchietto. This technique could have been disastrous if not committed to fully by the entire ensemble, and under Leyva’s direction, the strategy was impeccably executed.
The action centers on Martin Mirkheim, who is having a bad day. His accountant lets him know he owes thousands of dollars to the IRS, his girlfriend breaks up with him, and he is frustrated in his attempts to purchase the movie rights to a book he is sure will make a blockbuster film. Throughout the play, the depth of Mirkheim’s greed and unscrupulous nature spirals out of control through short scenes, with interactions between Mirkheim and various thugs.
Macchietto, whose looks suggest a mild-mannered accountant-type, portrayed Mirkheim wonderfully. His body language and facial expressions, the tone of his voice, all combined to display Mirkheim’s calculating ambitiousness. His portrayal during a scene while handcuffed to a chair was particularly well done. Casting of Macchietto in this role was a perfect decision.
Aaron Lett skillfully played the part of Kim, who becomes the mind behind the mayhem Mirkheim is creating. Lett’s casual presence, with a sly raise of an eyebrow here and there, suggested a confident air and amusement. The delivery of Kim’s lines seemed effortless and natural.
Trey Albright delivered an impeccable performance as Ron, a drug dealer. Albright used nervous movement and facial expressions to accurately depict a sleazy street thug. The occasional bounce in his performance seemed as if he was channeling the love child of Rodney Dangerfield and Kramer from Seinfeld. This choice worked extremely well for this New Jersey character.
Sean Massey, as Roger, performed strongly. With smirky grins and a stance of superiority, Massey convincingly portrayed Doctor Waxling’s strongman.
John Pfaffenberger played Doctor Waxling, whose personality was not what Mirkheim had expected of this self-help guru. Pfaffenberger used a combination of Dr. Phil-style mannerisms, interwoven with mafia thug bravado, to deliver the role expertly.
Notable ensemble performances included Chris Jordan in the role of Robert, the friend who connects Mirkheim with Kim, and Nathan Amir as the deceitful drug dealer, Pamfilo. Though smaller roles, the actors took ownership of them and maintained a meaningful presence in the action.
The entire ensemble complemented the action as the story continually follows Mirkheim’s life on its downward spiral. They and Leyva also did a great job finding and delivering the satire.
L.I.P Service’s Search and Destroy examines the ways human beings have the ability to navigate their own destruction as they seek out wealth and fame. There is strong language and adult situations, so it is not suitable for young children, but it will certainly provide an entertaining evening for all who attend.
SEARCH AND DESTROY
at Plaza Arts Theater
1115 4th Avenue
Carrollton, TX 75006
Plays through October 25th
Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $15.00.
For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.jasonleyva.com or call the box office at 817-689-6461