Central Works newest production, “Edward King”, leaves the audience guessing and laughing at the unraveling of a mystery fueled by a bad dream. Edward King (John Patrick Moore) is a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He’s been married to Jo (Michelle Talgarow) for approximately 20 years whom he has a daughter with that’s away at college. Jo works late nights at Bob’s Big Boy and often falls asleep while watching the X-Files after her shift. They are in debt but determined to pay for their daughter’s studies, as she will be the first in their families to graduate from college. Their life is a tireless routine until Edward dreams of a masked figure (Jan Zvaifler) that tells him he’s married to his mother.
Edward begins to internalize every bad thing that’s said or done. A dog attacks him on his route frequently and he exclaims to Jo that it’s only him the dog hates. A mysterious mold starts growing in the basement and the inspector says it can only be corrected by demolishing the house for $58,000; it must be a mystical punishment because he’s a bad person. His daughter has left a message that she’s not coming home for Thanksgiving because she’s decided to disown them.
The stress is amplified by the fact that he can’t get past his mommy/son dream and he decides to go see a psychiatrist (also played by Jan Zvaifler) during his lunch break. She relishes on the fact that he appears to have a textbook case of the Oedipus complex, a Freudian theory in which a child has an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex. Not entirely textbook as he’s waaaaaay past the age of this theory. The therapist tells him the basis of the story and name, Oedipus, the Greek legend that unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother.
Edward starts to convince himself that he’s indeed married to his mother and that’s the reason why bad things are happening. He’s being punished for an unknown sin. I mean, there was that one time the man who raised him told him he wasn’t his son, the mold spreading in his and his wife’s house, his wife’s age and a past finally revealed. They all point to the bad dream being true in Edward’s head. He takes it to the point where he secretly takes a swab from her mouth while she’s on one of her X-Files power naps. What did the results say? You’ll have to go watch to find out.
The Central Works Method Comedy
“Edward King” Extended through June 18!
by Gary Graves
Berkeley City Club
2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Pay-what-you-can: preview performances and every Thursday!