Paint the Town

By - Jul 17th, 2008 02:52 pm
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By Burt Wardall


What if a pair of terrorist revolutionaries lived among us? These days we tend to picture terrorists as olive-skinned men who speak in broken English. But what if terrorists looked and sounded just like us? What would they do? How would they act? How would they live in today’s society? Rex Winsome’s Paint the Town provides a glimpse into just that.

Paint the Town is a tale of young revolutionary couple Big Red (Winsome) and his girlfriend Nadia (Kate Pleuss), who live in a cardboard shack in a long-forgotten corridor of a subway system. They have isolated themselves from the norms of society and live by their own rules. They rob and steal for the majority of their sustenance.

Nadia’s mother was also a terrorist once, but has since changed her name, married and lives a “normal” life. Red – clearly severely disturbed – believes it’s Nadia’s birthright to continue the life her mother forsook. Nadia’s half-brother Arthur (Jason Hames) has chosen a different path in life, following his father’s footsteps to become a doctor. Nadia and Arthur still maintain a close relationship, but obviously Arthur doesn’t understand or approve of his sister’s lifestyle, nor does he care for Red.

Red thinks he’s “saving” Nadia from her perfect little family – so he sets out to eliminate them, creating explosive devices both deceptive – one is designed to look like a present – and elaborate. Red may be a horrible murderer, but he is passionate about his craft.

Winsome conveys Red’s despicable personality so skillfully that you’d probably hate him just as much if he were a bank teller rather than a killer. He’s highly intelligent – but he’s annoying. He’s condescending. And his always-calm demeanor makes you want to smack him! You can just tell that his character gets a perverse pleasure from flustering his verbal opponents while he remains stoic and composed.

Paint the Town is satisfying, disturbing and highly entertaining. Its glimpse into a world of terror – devoid of emotion – chills, even when we feel, somehow, a little sympathetic toward Nadia, even though she is every bit the monster that Red is, or distressed for Arthur when he loses it.

A quote on the back of the program reads: “If all society is a sculpture, then a revolutionary has to be an artist.” Nadia’s final scene takes this quote to grotesque proportions.

And that’s a good thing. VS

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