I get to write this phrase so infrequently: Double Feature is a really fun night of theater. "Fun" as in surprising, goofy, creative, weird—all things that Imago long perfected with their popular show FROGZ, and that they offer here with a slightly more adult twist (read: a healthy dose of sex and a whole lot of f-bombs). The two one-acts that comprise the double feature are both written and directed by Imago's Jerry Mouawad, and while the writing is probably the weakest note in the production, it's easy to overlook a bit of structural sloppiness because everything else going on is so, well, fun.
Each audience member is given two tickets, and instructed that the first ticket is for their seat on the "black" side, the second for their seat on the "white" side. What this means is immediately and dizzily apparent: The stage is divided straight down the middle into a white half and a black half. Why? Who cares, it's an awesome idea.
The first play, Serial Killer Parents, starts with a great conceit: A magician and his assistant/wife essentially reprise Waiting for Godot as a magic act, forgetting where they've been from one moment to the next, performing magic tricks by rote because it's just, well, what they do. Performers Mouawad and Carol Triffle, Imago's co-artistic directors, are a pleasure to watch, particularly Triffle as the languid, deadpan assistant. I could've done without the twist that these two are parents of a serial killer who is awaiting execution—it made for a little too much information, a little too much of the desperate plottiness that often characterizes one acts.
The second show (the white half!) is based on and named for the Philip K. Dick story The Father-Thing, about an alien who impersonates a man by stealing his skin. The winning conceit here is that it's presented like a movie, with a narrator explaining camera angles and shots, and a model dollhouse representing the exterior of the house. A wife notices that her husband has developed a foul stench, and their children soon realize that their father is no longer their father at all. Panic and chaos and stylized fight scenes ensue.
Mouawad is much better writing dialogue than plot—on a frame-by-frame basis, The Father-Thing is casually profane and very funny, but the big picture is muddled and crammed with far more information than is strictly necessary. It would be nice to see the editing process on both of these scripts go one step farther—with some streamlining, maximum fun potential could be achieved.