“The Things Are Against Us” produced by Washington Ensemble Theatre

Playwright Susan Soon He Stanton likes a crammed script and her script for this play is certainly crammed. Within it you’ll find farce, a ghost story, horror, melodrama, romantic comedy, mystery/thriller, fantasy, a heavy dose of surrealism, and perhaps other aspects I’ve failed to mention. If you suspect that’s too much, you are right.

That’s not to say there aren’t enjoyable elements within this production directed by Bobbi Ramsey. As is so often the case with WET presentations, the acting is really good. Allison Stanley and Samie Spring Detzer are compelling as the two sisters at the center of the play who exist in two centuries in two locations, New York and Massachusetts.

Then there’s Robert Bergin wonderfully droll as Caspar, the taciturn woodsman who can do much more than split wood. Trying to make sense of it all is Jeffrey Azevedo as Yusef, the grandson misplaced in time and place. Meanwhile Jany Bacallao, dressed in white, exudes a suave superiority playing the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. We’re left to wonder if he’s collecting material for his own writing or reminding us of the surreal nature of all this.

Julia Welch’s set combined with Tristan Roberson’s lighting and projections work well to create an ambiance that’s both spooky and historical. A big, old New England house that might be a model of the home where Lizzie Borden did or maybe didn’t do her dirty work looms over the entire stage. Extra windows hang from the rafters creating a backdrop for all the vignettes that make up this jam-packed play. And I must warn you that there’s a big, old claw-footed bathtub that is up to no good.

The sounds are eerie. The play itself is avant garde in the manner of Ionesco. So if you like your theatre cutting edge, if you don’t mind theatre that’s confusing but stimulating, this current WET production is for you.

Through May 16 at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle, (206 325-5105 washingtonensemble.org).

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