“LIVE! From the Last Night of My Life” at 12 Ave. Arts

Don’t do it Doug! You seem to be such a nice guy. Don’t kill yourself tonight. Yeah you’re in a dead end job now, but most of us have those periods. You’re smart! You’re young. You have potential! Don’t do it!

And that’s the conundrum around which “LIVE! From the Last Night of My Life” is built. Affable Doug Sample, so poignantly played by Ryan Higgins, is stuck on the late night shift (i.e. “the graveyard shift”) in a 24-hour convenience store. He’s the guy who hasn’t made it in the dot.com gold rush, the one who left too early. So the gun in his backpack is loaded, and he says he’s going to shoot his brains out at the end of his shift.

We can almost understand his angst as we watch the parade of characters march or float through the store. Weird ones, sad and lonely ones, frighteningly aggressive ones, deliberately annoying ones, and even some old friends—it’s a long night, and when the parade of human diversity lets up for a few moments, Doug talks to the security camera, spilling his angst to the boss who may find his body in the morning . . . if indeed he does kill himself.

It all plays out in Michael Mowery’s set that meticulously recreates every such store in every city in the entire country. It’s got walls of different refrigerated foods, every sort of high carb snack and junk food imaginable, a few rolls of toilet paper and personal hygiene products, gas pumps outside, and the sense of a dead end within.

Written and directed by Wayne Rawley and produced by Theatre22 this is a revival of the well-received Seattle production mounted by Theater Schmeater in 2011. The current version includes almost entirely the same cast and crew that created the original.

Lugubrious though the plot might sound, this is thought provoking and very funny. The sharp dialog is loaded with keen humor. There’s a full-cast dance number you won’t soon forget. There are touching intimate moments and spine chilling encounters. It’s a slice of late-night life offering us the opportunity to determine what makes success and what makes failure.

Through April 18, 2015 offered by Theatre Twenty-Two at 12th Ave. Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle, (206 257-2203 or www.theatre22.org).

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