Joy in pain

Wonder of the World

Coleen Katen (goggles) pilots Lisa Bommarito (flask) and Jeff Whitt (uniform) in a crazy helicopter ride over Niagara Falls.

Coleen Katen (goggles) pilots Lisa Bommarito (flask) and Jeff Whitt (uniform) in a crazy helicopter ride over Niagara Falls.

Photo By David Robert

Anybody who is easily offended by politically

incorrect humor should avoid this play like major surgery in sub-Saharan Africa. The Proscenium Players’ fantastic delivery of Tony and Pulitzer Award-winner David Lindsay-Abaire’s Wonder of the World is pure comedy platinum.

Those who cannot walk through life without the wicked humor in this classic farce should reserve tickets, post-haste, because this Doug Mishler-directed stinging comedy is worth the drive to Carson City.

Oh, the myriad of hilarious offenses toward common decency! And whoever doesn’t quite get it has simply missed the point, the comedy in tragedy, the veritable spirit of farce. For beginners, there’s Lois, a suicidal alcoholic (played to the hilt by Lisa Bommarito), determined to end her life by flinging overself over Niagara Falls. As the miserably reluctant “sidekick” of Cass (Susan Lingelbach), Lois sports a frown, a turquoise floral shower-cap and a libation-skewered perspective. About all she’s got a handle on is the flask perpetually in her grip.

Cass, for her part, is the repressed heroine, committed to extricating herself from her “two-faced deviant” of a husband, Kip (Jeremy Zutter), who has … well, a dirty, deep, dark secret. He’s adamant that before she goes, she should “just try the fucking aspic!” But Cass refuses, walks out the door and starts checking off her lengthy new “to-do” list: “Number 81: Get a sidekick!”

Latching onto a thoroughly exasperated Lois ("From here on out, you’re my second banana!"), Cass unloads too much information, stage-left and right: “My old life is 463 road signs behind me,” she says.

Along the way in this well-rehearsed farce, Cass meets up with a Maid of the Mist Captain Mike (seasoned actor Jeff Whitt), and slick innuendo ensues.

Insinuation, on the other hand, is as plain as the laugh-out-loud moments that might make some viewers all red in the face. These juicy little nuggets, like projectile body fluids, spew hysterically out of Cass’s mouth: “Oh, hey—let’s be lesbians for the weekend!”

Perhaps others may find lines like this offensive: “No, I can’t teach you macramé—I’m here to kill myself!”

Or maybe off-key renditions of The Carpenters’ classic love song, “Close To You” might just really pisses the living hell out of you.

And—just sayin’ now—Cass isn’t really being rude when she tells Lois, “Before there was TV and crack cocaine, people used to talk to each other.”

Bon voyage to phony manners, etiquette and good behavior. This farce fulfills its perverted purpose—and then some.

Cass isn’t simply AWOL, on a bender or blissfully ignorant. Liberated and multi-tasking her disillusioned derriere off, she is having an epiphany.

And what greater attribute inherent in every tragedy, than the capacity to laugh at oneself?

Sit in on Wonder of the World to find out if Cass makes it to the end of her to-do list in time to save her own sanity—let alone her marriage. Be prepared for the unexpected; and expect to be unprepared. The fun is in tailgating along while these affecting characters take—and take the audience on—a delightfully sick but oh-so-funny road trip.

Destination: sweet madness.