When he was a college student, Michael Goughread a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson entitled "Mr. Flood's Party." He saw a play in it, and adapted it to a multi-character play for his master's thesis project at UC Santa Barbara. Gough has adapted it yet again, this time for one actor--himself. At Theatre/Theater, "Mr. Flood's Party" is a very lonely night.
Robinson's original Mr. Flood was the old local drunk of the poet's mythical Tilbury Town. Gough's Barney Flood appears to be an outdoors type. He wears a sleeveless jacket and plaid shirt. He carries a plastic water jug. Pretty regular guy, except that he follows a little bird wherever its wings take it--up a mountain, down a mountain, into abandoned old houses.
It is in this decrepit abode that Flood begins to dream of converting it into a saloon dubbed Barney's Flood Gate. As he does, memories start pouring in of childhood, teen rivals and troubles with women.
Some of the memory passages convey an acute sense of detail but this is precisely what's missing from Flood's character. Imagined ghosts rather than real needs anchor this man, and he is never anything more than emotionally vaporous.
Gough the playwright hasn't given Gough the actor much to go on, and director Randal Hoey brings little to the party.
Last performance is at 1713 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $6.50; (213) 871-0210.