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Brutality Imbues 'Necropolis' Message

May 14, 1999|JANA J. MONJI

A tired mattress dominates the set of Don Nigro's "Necropolis," at the Met Theatre. Used initially as a screen for graphic video that merges past and present battles in the Balkans, it then becomes a battleground of a different sort.

Lust and love, sex and guilt, fatalism and crusading idealism--all are part of a brief encounter and the tangled emotions that result. A 31-year-old journalist, Post (Dean Reynolds), has just left the coital embrace of a 24-year-old stranger, Anna (Diana Cignoni). They lie on the bed (tilted to give us an overhead perspective); she smokes.

He imagines himself a hero, the lonely man searching for the story, risking his life when he could live in comfort. She sees him as a voyeur, looking in on problems but never putting himself in emotional peril. He was attracted by her lack of fear that, in reality, was a piercing, cold pragmatism. He attempts to make this heartless encounter into more, only to meet the unnerving chill of her clarity.

The poetic beauty of this stark drama makes a one-night stand into a sociopolitical lesson. Director Scott Fishkind contrasts the guilelessness of Anna's harsh reality with the journalist's stumbling attempts to reclaim his nobility. The result is brutal, especially when followed by graphic color footage from the Balkans.

Lasting only 50 minutes, this production is densely filled with a message that isn't strident but still manages to weigh one down with sadness that people have to live in cities of death.


* "Necropolis," Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles. Saturdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Ends May 23. $10. (323) 957-1152. Running time: 50 minutes.

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