Theatre Preview: Zastrozzi: master of stage

By Dylan Neilson

For all those who find not sleeping, the art of extreme martial discipline and being psychologically unstable are for the more night aristocrat or the Irish dude from Braveheart, Zastrozzi promises to be a mind-fuck in a league of its own. Upon first hearing the name Zastrozzi, one is inclined to think of a certain eighteenth century philosopher who liked to talk about how he was right and everyone else was wrong. If you are one of those people, then you are absolutely right.

Zastrozzi promises from the outset to be a play about a very angry person in 1893 Italy, who believes he has attained the Nietschean ideal of the Ubermensch and therefore has the duty to make sure everyone who crosses his path is well aware of it.

“Life is a series of totally arbitrary and often meaningless events and the only way to get through is to forget that you know that,” informed the particularly heavy-browed and intense actor, AP Downey.

Believing himself to be ostensibly correct about everything, Zastrozzi believes destroying everything is necessary. He intends to reduce everything to ashes in order to be sure things are exactly the way he wants them to be­­–in ashes. Oh, and he’s real pissed off about the slaying of his mother. Before you start running for the hills, we’re supposed to tell you this is a comedy. One must be able to laugh when another person is standing on a dimly lit stage with a sword and telling you he is the “Pure, sane voice of negative spirituality.”

The pensive and barely suppressible anger of Downey still lets him calmly muse on his character. “If Zastrozzi is the devil, then he believes in God.”

The Gothic nature of the play and its insatiable appetite for destruction might trouble some people, but the exaggerated nature of these characters is the key to realizing they are supposed to reflect the heroes and villains of comic books. One is supposed to be able to find humor in the nihilist philosophy or the delirious lunacy of the characters as they interact throughout the play. The zany antics of these characters should make for an interesting dig into the psychology of the Master of Discipline.

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