Four Characters in Search of an Exit: A Review of Know Theatre’s “Kill Move Paradise”
Posted On March 5, 2018
Review by Alan Jozwiak of Kill Move Paradise: Know Theatre
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. . .
and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.
This opening narration from the first season of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone aptly describes the latest play by Know Theatre—James Ijames’s Kill Move Paradise.
Submitted for your approval are four men—Isa (Darnell Pierre Benjamin), Grif (Landon E. Horton), Daz (Elliot Young), and Tiny (Crystian Wiltshire)—who find themselves stuck together into an empty void. No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. Their only form of understanding of their plight is their own fuzzy memories for being in this place, a instruction book, and the occasional paper airplane for guidance.
Like a Twilight Zone episode, this is a play greatly diminished by spoilers, so I cannot tell much more of the plot without deflating the play’s mystery surrounding these four sojourners. Suffice to say that their journey has references to current events, in the same way that Serling’s Twilight Zone episodes spoke to the social conditions of his day.
Director Piper Davis chose a strong stable of actors to fill these roles. Davis is wise enough to let the actors play to their strengths to drive the action of this play forward. This play can easily stall amid all of the uncertainty and the play kept its pace throughout.
Know veteran Darnell Pierre Benjamin does an outstanding job as Isa. He commands the stage for the first part of the play and we get a sense of his total bewilderment as he is trying to figure out his situation. Benjamin also needs to be commended for the way that he enters the stage—there is an opening at the top of the stage which slopes down to the floor. Benjamin squeezes through and then slides down the sloping stage, landing in a heap near the audience. This entrance is rather spectacular and memorable, since it is completely unexpected.
Landon E. Horton and Elliot Young are also strong in their portrayals as Grif and Daz. Horton’s performance as Grif was particularly strong, since he has to work off of Benjamin for a long time before Daz shows up. Young has his moments to shine, especially when he gets his lawn chair and recites the list of discarded things he found in this void offstage.
Crystian Wiltshire as Tiny rounds out the cast and did a wonderful job as Tiny. Wiltshire captures the spirit of youth to offset other character’s older outlook. Tiny’s character is inspired by a real twelve-year old, so Wiltshire gets around the age disparity by being hyper animated. It works to convey a youthful playfulness that is essential to Tiny’s character.
Running just under 90 minutes on opening night, Kill Move Paradise is a wonderful exploration of contemporary events that tells all the truth, but tells it slant like a Twilight Zone episode so that we had to dig to see its contemporary relevance.
Kill Move Paradise runs Wednesdays through Sundays until March 24, 2018. For more information, please visit Know Theatre’s website https://knowtheatre.com/season-20/kmp/.
Also, my eternal thanks to Rod Serling for the descriptive wording used in the beginning and in my description of this play. His purple prose was perfectly appropriate for this production. To draw again from Serling’s own words: these cast of players appeared on the odd stage—known as—The Twilight Zone.