Mark Ravenhill, the English playwright best known for his play with the unprintable title (let's just call it "Shopping and Copulating"), isn't one for bromides and gooey sentiments. In "pool (no water)," now receiving its L.A. premiere at the Complex's Flight Theatre in a highly visceral Monkey Wrench Collective production, he exposes the darker side of the artistic underground. Suffice it to say, this isn't about the nobility of the creative calling.
The premise of this work, first performed in 2006, is attention-grabbing: A visual artist (serenely played by Jessica Lamprinos) who has hit the big time throws a party for her envious boho friends and has a horrific accident that the title vaguely prepares us for. While she struggles to recover in the hospital, these supposed chums look for ways to turn her tragedy into their next art project. They're hoping, under the guise of mining their experience, to capitalize on her mishap and perhaps turn the tables on her success.
This isn't your typically talky British drama of ideas but a movement-theater piece that expresses its scalding insights even more physically than verbally. Directed by Monkey Wrench Collective artistic director Dave Barton and choreographed by Angela Ann Lopez and Lee Samuel Tanng, the production unleashes its fiercely committed 11-person cast on David Scaglione's flexible, largely abstract set that's discreetly enlivened by Eric A. Wahl's video design.