Escaping Planet Earth

The pair who nurtured experimental theater will leave Phoenix on a high note, with Haunted Summer

The flashpoint of the script is its three apocryphal stories by Byron, Percy Shelley and Clairmont. (According to legend, Clairmont's story was abandoned when she discovered that she was pregnant by Byron; Percy Shelley's and Byron's stories were reportedly burned; only Frankenstein and Polidori's Vampyr survived.) Here, the playwrights have invented stories based on chapters from the writers' lives that are not only wildly entertaining in a creepy, Grand Guignol sort of way, but also seem to fit these famous characters.

Despite its length and occasional excesses (everyone gets naked, and there's much gratuitous humping--of furniture, props and other actors--by each of the principals), Haunted Summer is the most entertaining production Planet Earth has presented in several seasons.

While its seasons are as spotty today as they were when the troupe debuted five years ago, it's hard to imagine any other local company writing and producing a show about famous writers who take drugs and have sex for three hours.

Let's hope the Cirinos' successor(s) will have the same chutzpah as those people from that weird theater over on Roosevelt.

Haunted Summer continues through Saturday, March 22, at Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street. For more details, see Theater listing in Thrills.

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