On Stage

Serial Killers

You vote, they die

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It’s been a few years since I immersed myself in iDiOM Theater’s cutthroat competition known as Serial Killers, so I was pleasantly surprised, on opening night, to find the place packed to the rafters with patrons ready to use their voting power to dispose of one of the teams beginning a five-week battle to stay alive.

As an audience member, it’s kind of a thrill to know that, once you’ve viewed that night’s plays—which each start out at about 10 minutes long, and get more expansive as teams are cut—the “X” you mark on your ballot could make the difference between a team waving farewell or, instead, getting right to work on producing the following week’s theatrical offering.

For those onstage, the impetus to make it to the end of the line involves more than bragging rights. When all is said and done after the final showings Dec. 14, the winning team will go home with a $1,000 cash prize, and the runner-ups will pocket $500. Additionally, they’ll get to follow their various story lines to completion.

The tales being told in the latest rendition of Serial Killers are pretty diverse. Glen Bristow’s Craw Gang Chronicles focused on hillbillies fighting for the love of a questionable gal in short-shorts. In Jessa Frankie Parrish’s The Threshing Floor, the silent movie era was revived, and music and cue cards helped move the action along. Longtime competitor Sean Walbeck’s Tour d’Ham nailed certain aspects of the City of Subdued Excitement via a trio of nurses out for a night on the town. Mary and Joseph: A Modern Bible Story, by Tim Greger, was just what it sounds like—but funny.

But that’s not all. Marie Biondolillo and Ross Bracket’s Cult Band indicates theater of a more musical nature is to come in future episodes, and Chris Moye’s Spare the Rod included a cliffhanger that almost guaranteed that audiences would want to see the crew stick around to find out what happens to a teenager with anger/asshole issues.

Since I was attending the earlier show, I didn’t find out until the iDiOM posted results after the 10pm showing that Craw Gang Chronicles were the first to be voted off the island. They weren’t the ones I cast my vote against—I’m going to keep that detail to myself—but with an overwhelming amount of marks against them, it was clear the audiences felt the other teams had a better chance of making it through the long haul.

If you’re thinking about attending the second bout this weekend, or on following Saturday nights through mid-December—don’t fret too much if you missed prior episodes. Per usual, each night a separate team of actors will re-cap the previous week’s plays into a short pastiche, with typically hilarious results.

Another hint: If opening night was any indication, Serial Killers is still one of the hottest tickets in town where Saturday night entertainment is concerned. The show I attended sold out, and people were still scrambling to find seats a few minutes before the lights came up onstage. What I’m trying to say is get your tickets early, or face haunting the alleyways with those who have already been killed off.

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