Las Vegas Little Theatre claims the avant-garde for its own with a new production of Christopher Durang’s Titanic, April 3-12. Directed by LVLT board member T.J. Larsen, the play takes place on the doomed ship, although this one never seems to sink.
“Titanic is a pretty absurdist-type comedy,” says Larsen, although that seems to be putting it mildly. The plot starts with the upper-crust Tammurai family, complaining that they’re not at the captain’s table in the ship’s dining room. The family soon unravels under accusations of affairs (the father is not the father of his son), false pregnancies (the mother did not actually give birth to her daughter; it was done “with mirrors”), unstable identities (the daughter does not actually exist) and sexual deviancy (the daughter feeds several animals who live in her ... well, you can probably guess).
Still, despite all the craziness, Durang insists it’s not just a farce, and Larsen is trying to keep it real, too. “We’re just trying to skate the razor’s edge of wackiness, of sexual raunchiness, and also tie it in with a little bit of emotional reality as well,” Larsen says.
Larsen has high praise for his actors: “Anything that I’ve asked to them to do, no matter how silly or perverse, they just jump right at it. We find out how far we can take it to the edge of taste and comedy.” He hopes his audience is up for the ride as well. “Basically what I want to do with this play is show a little bit of a raunchier, edgier side of LVLT, without going so far that we send our audience running out the doors because they’re so offended,” Larsen says.