Shawn Stalter, Chief Dallas/Ft. Worth Critic
The two-member cast of Millennial Poison Theatre Company’s inaugural production of the visceral love story, “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” at Richardson’s intimate Core Theatre delivered an energized, compelling and authentic performance. Fueled by equal portions of pain, passion and playground injuries, stars Michael Breath Jr. and Shelby Priddy wove together an introspective story of a maturing friendship and love which can withstand the physical and emotional pain life often throws our way.
Written by Rajiv Joseph, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” tells a unique story of love through the eyes of two characters, Doug and Kayleen, whose paths repeatedly intersect throughout a 30 year period. Unlike a “fairytale romance” however, Doug and Kayleen’s deepening relationship is forged from the periods of mutual pain and struggle they endure. Through their eyes, the audience traverses the complex and dark terrain of the modern world, but stares into the light two wounded souls can create.
Michael Breath Jr. and Shelby Priddy delivered well-rounded and diverse performances as Doug and Kayleen. Together, they crafted a space allowing a wide range of powerful emotions to shine through as the story’s complex timeline shifted to place them in the eight-year-old, teenage and young adult versions of themselves. These far-reaching emotional waves broke hard on the audience as the story waded into some uncomfortable, yet all-too-real experiences, many of us face throughout life.
In addition to the dynamic performance of the cast, this production soared on the wings of visionary director, Lucas Haupert’s, exceptional use of video interludes between scenes. These evocative segments not only helped shape the story, but delivered a much-needed breathing space for audiences eager to digest the previous scenes’ material.
DFW-area audiences looking for a well-deserved break from the sugary-sweet, superficial, watered-down “love” stories which pervade today’s screen and stage, can swim in much deeper emotional waters with Millennial Poison’s production of “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”
Directed by Lucas Haupert, Millennial Poison’s production of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” stars Michael Breath Jr. as “Doug,” Shelby Priddy as “Kayleen,” and includes Alex Stout as an understudy for the role of “Kayleen.” This production features stage management by Dylan Mobley and Alana Henry and includes choreography courtesy of Dani Haines.
Reserve your seat for an upcoming performance and learn more about future productions by visiting https://thecoretheatre.org/ or by contacting the box office at 214-930-5338.
Photo credit: Millennial Poison Theatre Co.