The scabrous, dank, vaguely subterranean world of "No Trespassing Zone" at the aptly named Mean Street Ensemble in West Hollywood is guerrilla theater as its most visceral.
Here's a young company with the ferocity and the technical skills to make theatergoing seem like a novel experience.
The tiered arena seating, with music from the Blasters punctuating the action, lurches you into the playing ring.
The setting is a desolate urban war zone framed by wire mesh fencing, spare tires, rotting mattresses--a vision of a cesspool unbearably familiar where the young and the wild and the homeless scavenge and kill one another over turf.
This original environmental work was written, directed and designed by Colin Patrick Lynch. He's a conjurer of starkness who obviously has a vision and the gifts (including a strong cast) to wear three hats and strike a graphic note with each.
In the early moments, "No Trespassing Zone" seems pretentious because Craig Pierce's lighting scheme is unsettling.
But gradually his murky, violent design becomes a textbook example of light that casts a spell as important as the dialogue. The darkness slashed with smoky light compresses and tightens the fear and the passions among these sinewy warriors in their shredded garments.