Extinction Theatre Review - A Darkly Funny Drama at the Elephant Theatre

Extinction running at Elephant Space Theatre Thru December 13, 2009

When your Mom dies and you need a shoulder to cry on… When times are tough and your buddy is doing much better than you, meanwhile you can’t pay for grad school… When you need a wingman to cut loose and go buck wild with… That’s what friends are for, right?

Michael Weston (standing) & James Roday in "Extinction"

This is the understood relationship of fellow partners on crime, Max and Finn, a Tag Team duo of boozing and ballin’ way back. Max (Michael Weston) is in semi-mourning over the passing of his not-so-sweet mother. He is joined in Atlantic City by his faithful college buddy Finn (James Roday). AC is their playground, because all mischiefs stay in AC.

Max is actively reminiscing and revving up for a wild weekend, while Finn seems to stall at Max’s every audacious proposal. Ever so slowly, the details come out. Finn is broke, headed to grad school, maybe. He has no money for tuition, much less to run wild in Atlantic City. Max rebuffs Finn’s excuses with a fierce but friendly attack on Finn’s bad wardrobe and bad mustache. He continues to try and pull Finn into the wonderland mentality until Finn finally drops a bombshell, the root of his apprehension: he is unable to engage in the nameless debaucheries of their youth because he is marred and expecting a child with a girl they both know, Susan.

(l to r) Amanda Detmer, Michael Weston, James Roday & Stefanie E. Frame in "Extinction"

Max is shocked that Finn would abandon their alliance of misogyny and actually marry a girl, marry Susan. Nevertheless, Max manages to assuage Finn money woes and apprehension, getting him to agree to just one night of drugs, booze and fast women. Max finds two local girls to come to their hotel room (Amanda Detmer, Stefanie E. Frame). Just when the party seems to get started, Finn once again balks; and that’s when things get ugly.

The basic premise of Extinction is quite simple, friends who have grown apart. However, it is a wonderful examination of how we as human beings gravitate to people who complete us. Those of us who are “bad” look for people whom we can seduce into collusion with our own dark impulses, if only for a little while. And there are those of us like to think of ourselves as more than ordinary sometimes seek thrills and even danger, just to feel a little more alive.

Getting the Party Started. Extinction @ Elephant Space Theatre

Gabe McKinley’s great script, with its bad music metaphor shorthand, makes this friendship feel very authentic. The very essence of the play effectively depicts how violent people are against one another with the use of mere words, and truth. James Roday and Michael Weston are wonderful as Finn and Max, an odd couple who cling desperately to the memories of their college heydays of youth and possibility. In watching this friendship systematically disintegrate in the course of 80 minutes, the question for the audience is whether this ever really a friendship? Does a true friendship permit the illusion to persist, or does it insist on truth?

Extinction is running now through December 13, 2009 at:

Elephant Space Theatre
Hollywood Area
6322 Santa Monica Blvd
Hollywood, CA  90038
(One block W. of Vine on Santa Monica Blvd.)

Tickets: $18 - General Admission, $15 - Students (w/valid ID) & Seniors

For more Information: (323) 962-0046


Photos by: Kurt Boetcher

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