In this gloriously crazy spectacle, the legendary punk group World/Inferno Friendship Society joins forces with Jay Scheib, one of contemporary theater’s brightest young directors, to create a cabaret punk-rock operetta for our times. Using Peter Lorre as the ultimate 20th century archetype of alienation, WIFS dedicates a furious song cycle charting Lorre’s trajectory from his days as an illustrious stage and film actor to his pitiless fall from grace. Led by the inimitable Jack Terricloth, WIFS paints a picture of the 20th century from the outsider’s eye via a multi-media spectacle. (1 hour, 40 mins.)
WHAT IS IT? Addicted to Bad Ideas is the stage version of a record made by the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a cabaret punk band from New York City. The record is a tribute to Peter Lorre, the character actor whose most famous roles were usually criminals in movies like The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. The director, Jay Scheib, added theatrical elements like live video and a prepared video composed of various movies in which Lorre appeared. The effect is purely cinematic.
WHY SEE IT? This is going to be the loudest performance of this year’s Spoleto. It’s going to be so loud that Spoleto staffers will hand out ear plugs to people with tickets. The reason for the volume is that the music, drawn from the record by the same name, is the driving force behind the story. The story traces Lorre’s unlikely trajectory from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania to Vienna to Berlin and finally to Hollywood. But Lorre’s reputation preceded him. His career-launching role was as a pedophile killer in Fritz Lang’s M. From then on, Lorre played scumbags despite his being a stunning talent.
WHO SHOULD GO? If you have ligyrophobia (fear of loud sounds), then this isn’t for you. But if you like great ska-tinged punk, multimedia theatrics, and a story about an incredible person who was not nearly heralded enough during his lifetime thanks to an unfortunate set of extraordinary circumstances, then this, the buzziest of buzzes, is for you. (John Stoehr)