Essential Self-Defense

Playwright Adam Rapp (Pulitzer Prize-finalist for Red Light Winter) can be an uncertain, quirky writer, somewhere between Sam Shepard with his grotesque way-out-west family and Harry Kondoleon and his oddball, psychotic fairy tales. Rapp’s 2007 Essential Self-Defense, making a welcomed regional premiere at Horse Head Theatre Company with this production, is certainly quirky.

Kooky misfit Yul (played by frequent Houston Press contributor Troy Schulze) has a low-end job as a human attack dummy in a women’s self-defense class, taking his licks from repressed bookworm Sadie (Bree Walsh), who knocks out his tooth before falling for him.

There’s a subplot about missing children, a slew of weird townies and much talk about paralyzing fear and mystery, along the lines of Yul’s confession, “My worldview involves ominous cloud formations and lots of shattered glass.”

David Cote of Time Out New York said of the play, “Rapp was born to wrestle words to the page and then to the stage; he has a love of language and a zest for his characters’ lives.” 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and May 16. Through May 28. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 713‑364‑4482 or visit www.horseheadtheatre.org. $15 to $25.
Thursdays-Saturdays; Mon., May 16. Starts: May 12. Continues through June 5, 2011

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D.L. Groover has contributed to countless reputable publications including the Houston Press since 2003. His theater criticism has earned him a national award from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) as well as three statewide Lone Star Press Awards for the same. He's co-author of the irreverent appreciation, Skeletons from the Opera Closet (St. Martin's Press), now in its fourth printing.
Contact: D. L. Groover