Halloween conjures scary images of ferocious beasts, evil witches and — troubled marriages? All three, in Jeffrey M. Jones’ 1980 play Seventy Scenes of Halloween, given a superb revival by the Luna Theater Company.
Jones busts illusions by having the normally hidden stage manager announce each short scene by number (“Scene 54, go!”) and deliberately presents them out of sequence. Director Aaron Oster accepts the playwright’s invitation to rearrange them at will, making Luna’s version unique — though no less confusing, in a linear storytelling way, than the original. The best way to enjoy the play — and it’s a lot of fun, on several levels — is to forego expectations.
Jared Michael Delaney and Megan Slater are terrific as weary couple Jeff and Joan, married nine long years and divided by complacency and smoldering resentment. They bicker about answering the door for trick-or-treaters, where the candy corn is stored and what to watch on TV. Then they’re visited by monsters: in the closet, peering through windows, even replacing them in their matching lounge chairs.
Beast (Griffin Stanton-Ameisen) and Witch (Angela Smith) are simultaneously neighborhood children, Jeff and Joan’s friends and the couple’s barely controlled ids. Both provide wonderfully creepy voices for their scary characters, well-represented by Jillian Keys’ primitive masks, but are even more chilling when parodying Jeff and Joan’s suburban hell.
Stage manager Mary Rossiter designed the appropriately bleak set, a skeletal house that isn’t finished — or is it breaking apart? If her scene blackouts were quicker, the play would shock more as a barrage of scenes, rather than a trickle.
Both giggle- and shriek-inducingly cartoonish and a Pinter-esque study of a couple’s relationship nightmare, Seventy Scenes is a rare and remarkable evening of theater.
Through Nov. 3, $15-$30, The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., 215-704-0033, lunatheater.org.
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