The Mad Ophtalmologist

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Dr. Assember has a problem. He may have discovered eyedrops that cause X-ray vision and even visions of the Divine. Yet his research methodology is unconventional and he’s unable to get additional funding. What’s a Mad Scientist to do? Turn to his trusty and shapely assistant, that’s what. Together the two of them embark on a surreal, psychosexual journey of ocular exploration plumbing the depths of obsession and the quest for Truth.

31 Down‘s The Assember Dilator, now playing at PS122 , is a downtown theater version of a 50’s sci-fi mad scientist movie and just as enjoyable. The special effects are endearing in their simplicity – the sound design is sophisticated and adds an appropriately moody mystique – and the actors are enjoyably over the top. Add a touch of Grand Guignol, space age all-white costumery and you’ve got fun for the whole downtown family.

Director Shannon Sindelar stages the work in crisp, clean scenes and keeps things moving at a clip. Its very economical and rarely indulgent. Ryan Holsopple who, in addition to designing the sound, plays Dr. Assember as a bug-eyed, panty-obsessed Mad Scientist with zeal. Caitlin McDonough-Thayer, as Assember’s assistant, is both sexy and “a little bit off” –  which makes her all the more sexy. It is a minimal production and while this works most of the time – you can do a lot with a touch of video and some creatively jerry-rigged lighting – there are a few moments where it would be nice to see what they could have done with a bigger budget.

While the show isn’t without its flaws – the ending feels a little tacked-on – overall this is a really strong showing from a young company with a lot of promise. Culturebot recommends checking them out.

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