Bash Chillingly Portrays the Banality of Evil

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John (Zach McFarlane) and Sue (Yelizaveta Rybalchenko) tell two sides of the same story in “A Gaggle of Saints,” the second act of “Bash” by Neil LaBute.

John (Zach McFarlane) and Sue (Yelizaveta Rybalchenko) tell two sides of the same story in “A Gaggle of Saints,” the second act of “Bash” by Neil LaBute.

Combining fine acting, thoughtful directing, and fierce subject matter, Bash presents the dark underside of human nature, and the depraved levels to which some will fall to achieve their selfish ends.

Neil LaBute’s cynical play consists of three one-acts, essentially monologues, which reveal the twisted undercurrents of three young, supposedly religious characters. Loosely resembling Greek tragedy, each act recounts in somewhat confessional but defiant style the ruthless actions perpetrated by the characters.

John Delbarian gives an intense, forceful performance as a smug traveling salesman who rationalizes his casual yet sinister misdeed in a late-night confession to a bar patron in the first act.

The second act presents Zach McFarlane as the smooth, coldhearted John, casually recounting how he maliciously battered a gay man outside a college formal attended with his innocent sweetheart Sue (Yelizaveta Rybalchenko).

In the last act, Shantè DeLoach bristles with fury as she recounts how she became pregnant by a teacher, and took revenge. She believably swings between hatred and vulnerability.

Director Abanoub Andraous keeps an iron grip on the heavy moral issues the one-acts pose, amply demonstrating the “banality of evil” lurking in the young and attractive characters. Their glib and seemingly normal conversations and appearances hide complex, monstrous emotions.

Production values enhance the dark, tragic nature of the piece, building the sense of foreboding and danger. The intimate stage adds a claustrophobic menace to proceedings.

Bash offers a disturbing glimpse into cold amorality, where individuals gain their desires through black-hearted actions.

Bash plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. through Dec. 15 (no shows Thanksgiving weekend), at the Asylum Theatre located at 1078 Lillian Way in Hollywood. Tickets cost $15. To purchase tickets, please visit bash.bpt.me.

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