you know about Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, then consider yourself
lucky. It’s warm, humble, and just like Cheers, owner Zombie Joe will most
likely know your name. Walk into a
combination of incense and candles. Look
upon the walls and notice the candid shots of productions past. Bask in the dark, yet homey, feeling you’ll
get while waiting for the black box to open.
It’s a quant joint and for newcomers, it’s inviting from the moment Joe
shakes your hand and says, “Welcome, welcome!
I’m Zombie Joe and it is so nice to have you here.”
its 20th Anniversary Holiday Season, Zombie Joe’s is presenting their “spectacular
new production of 9 original mini-plays embracing truth, terror, and
titillation.” Astroglyde XX is a series of monologues written and performed by
“ZJU’s fearless Underground,” and it is certainly a production worth viewing. Here’s
just a little taste of each juicy monologue:
Snap, Click - Lights come up
on actor Cory Wyszynski. He’s dark and
twisted—beyond peculiar. His slick black
hair matches the black shiner under his right eye, and with every grin he
delivers to the audience, it is apparent that this mug shot photographer is a
psychotic man with mischievous intentions.
Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be his stepmother. As Cory exclaims in a thick New York accent,
“She ain’t Ma, Pap!”
The Addict – She’s petite and
looks super sweet, but actress Ren Harris proves that looks are more than
deceiving. She wants Joe, but she also
wants Sean. She loves books; she needs a
place to stay for the night; she’s innocent and would never cheat. The indecisive nature of Ren’s character will
make your head spin.
The Dog – Will Romano-Pugh’s monologue tugs
at the strings of your heart. Bare skin
in mere boxers, a pair of khaki-colored socks on his ears, hands and feet, and
a loose doggie collar around his neck, Will gives the audience insight into the
mind of a loyal dog that has been countlessly abused by his violent, drunkard owner. One moment your heart will sink when you hear,
“Master hits me whenever he drinks the crying medicine and it hurts.” And the
next moment you’re laughing because he follows his dark reality with, “I know
my master hits me because I hump the coffee table.”
Down In The Dumps-ter – Laura De Lano is
a desperate, kind-hearted, and completely psychotic woman that is beyond lovesick
for John. With a stalker agenda, Laura
tackles female issues revolving around body image and what it means to be
beautiful in our society. Is she truly
mad or have the pressures of pop culture driven her to the loony bin? She’s dedicated and truthful in the darkest
of ways. Listen up folks, the Feminine
Mystic lives on!
Murray – A few tears may fall from your
eyes after listening to this monologue.
Another dog tale in the lineup, Robert Walters introduces you to comedy
before tragedy in his baggy T-shirt and fuzzy ear beanie. Robert’s humble, sporadic performance might
remind you of the dog you had growing up and the tragic end that followed him. He’s Murray and he’s sure to get an “Aw!” out
Bumble’s Rambles – Bumbles…oh the
words to describe Mr. Bumbles. Tucker
Mathews gives a brilliant performance of the Beatle-loving fan who hosts a
radio show for anyone who is around to listen.
Take in this visual: bottle lens glasses, headset, red beard, stout
frame, open Hawaiian shirt with a Beatles tee underneath, and a pair of green
running shorts. To top it all off,
Bumbles’ co-host/producer/only friend in the world is a porcupine that brings
him slivers of Spam. It’s a bizarre, genius
monologue. Crazy Mr. Bumbles is a
survivor with enough generators to keep him going when everything else around
him has fallen.
Ru Shane – It is difficult to find the words
that will describe Ru Shane to unknowing audiences. My hats off to Chelsea Rose, for she is
absolutely brilliant! Naughty, raunchy,
fast, hard, sexy, and kinky—these are perfect adjectives to describe Chelsea’s
performance. She’s a voluptuous woman
who will whip you into sexual shape.
Disclaimer for this monologue should read: “Contains sexually explicit content for your
pleasure. Viewer discretion is advised.”
134340 – Poor Planet Pluto. It was popular for 75 years. Disney even named an iconic character after
it and what happened? It was swept under
the rug and dubbed a dwarf unworthy of planetary status. Leif La Duke creates a black sheep tale of a
“has-been planet” in the solar system. Splendid
performance and an ingenious monologue!
Pluto, forget Saturn’s rings and Earth’s narcissistic tendencies, you’ve
got spunk that Astronomers know nothing about!
You will always be a planet to me.
Muches Ado About Nothing – Clowns wear a
permanent smile on their face, so it’s often difficult to tell when they are
happy and when they are sad. But Mark Nager is not your ordinary clown. Or is
he? Magician by night and a professional
caterer by day, this clown recalls the formative days when he dreamed he could
do and be anything. Like the twinkle in
Mark’s eyes when he finally performs a magic trick for the audience, there is
hope. Even if times are tough and we
feel like giving up, we are always capable of making our wildest dreams come
Astroglyde XX is directed by
Vanessa Cate, Sebastian Munoz, Adam Neubauer, Roger K. Weiss, Jana Wimer and
Zombie Joe. The show runs every Friday at
8:30 pm from November 16 – December 14.
Tickets are $15.
Joe’s Underground Theatre Group is located at 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North
Hollywood, California 91601. For reservations call (818) 202-4120. For more information and to check out
upcoming productions, visit www.Zombiejoes.com.
always, until next time, I bid you happy viewings!