Kill The Virgin — What’s the Point?

 

KilltheVirginKill the Virgin clearly intends to satirize the tropes of horror movies while providing a post-modern spin on them. Unfortunately, despite some funny moments, the play proves to be an ultimately frustrating and pointless piece of work.

The virgin in this story is Ali, a sexy teenager who is questioned by two detectives, Marconi (Adam Florio) and Diaz (Marina Tejada). Ali was almost murdered in her house by a weirdo named Leonard (Jerry Middlemiss), who apparently had plans to murder her friends.

Ali references Scream by explaining that no movie character ever dies while talking on the phone. And she notes that virgins in horror movies live longer. “I thought I was supposed to die tonight,” Ali tells the detectives. “But I didn’t, so now what?”

This is an intriguing jumping off point for a story, yet writer Kevin Broccoli takes things in an entirely different direction.

We meet Ali’s parents Lily and Steve, who write horror movies for a living. They do not seem to be overly alarmed over their daughter being attacked in their home. When the truth is revealed about what happened between Ali and her assailant, Kill the Virgin proceeds to go completely off the rails. There is genital mutilation (thankfully not seen), matricide, a sex orgy and some particularly gory murders.

Ali’s behavior and motivations for the things she does are inexplicable. This violates a basic rule of storytelling: We should know what the protagonist wants to accomplish. What does Ali really want? By the time she realizes it, I had long stopped caring.

There are also several plot developments that don’t ring true. For example, are we supposed to believe Ali would be allowed to give the valedictory address at her high school graduation after confessing to a murder?

The actors do their best with what they have to work with. Victoria Ezikovich displays a sharp sense of comic timing as Ali. She is always engaging to watch, even as her character’s actions spiral into insanity. Carolyn Coughlin delivers a strong performance as Ali’s mother, as does Jennifer Pierel as Ali’s vengeful classmate Jo. Ted Clement’s direction is competent, and he throws in some nifty stylistic touches. Scenes from classic slasher films are projected on a giant screen while credits roll.

It’s hard to figure out what went wrong here. Broccoli’s plays Total Strangers and Rose’s Money featured clever plotting and well-drawn characterizations, qualities which are absent this time. Kill the Virgin is horrifying, but for all the wrong reasons.

Counter-Productions Theatre Company’s Kill the Virgin runs through May 22 at AS220 Black Box Theatre, 95 Empire St. Providence. For tickets, go to www.cptcri.com.

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