Theater of Catastrophe

Love conquers all in a doomsday drama

A new plague is sweeping the country, and it threatens to destroy the human race. As people flee from the cities, an abandoned drive-in movie theater in the desert becomes an oasis for a ragtag group of strangers who must choose how to live out their final days. This isn't Hollywood's next disaster blockbuster; it's the Pangaea Theatre Company's The Ice Cream Social Disease, opening at 8 p.m. tonight with a little help from the LIDA Project Experimental Theatre.

While LIDA recently announced it was closing its regular operations, it is remaining a local presence. Members were excited after attending playwright Matthew Schultz's workshop for The Ice Cream Social Disease last spring at the University of Colorado at Denver. As a result, they're helping launch the show along with Pangaea. And that's fine with Schultz.

"It's a great time to introduce a new theater company," says Schultz. "We're passionate, young and angry, and this is our first real 'hello' to Denver."

Infused with what Schultz describes as a "flippant dark sense of humor," the play is a study of the contrast between love and hate during survival. "It's about that age, that moment, of the loss of innocence, between ice cream socials and social diseases," says Schultz. "It asks if it is possible to still hold on to that innocence and find love in such a crazy world. Basically, it's a post-apocalyptic love story."

Performances run through January 22 at 2180 Stout Street (formerly the LIDA Project Experimental Theatre). Tickets are $10 to $15. For information or reservations, call 303-282-0466 or visit -- Kity Ironton

Working Stiff
A local playwright offers a humorous Penis
FRI 1/7

Bob Buckley was so inspired when a group of high-schoolers staged The Vagina Monologues at the Mercury Cafe that he decided to write his own male-member opus. "It's sad guys don't have something to guide them," he muses. "But they don't really need empowerment."

Still, the Jamestown housepainter-cum-actor had to conquer at least one obstacle: "The Vagina Monologues is a serious work. I couldn't do that with a penis. It would have to be funny, because it's a funny thing."

So he played with the idea -- "just the sight of it would be humorous," he says -- and wrote a little dialogue, and before long, he'd stretched it out into An Evening With Penis, a one-man show that debuted last November at the Mercury, 2199 California Street. And starting tonight, it's been, er, extended, showing at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through January. Featuring actor Chris Kendall dressed as an anatomically correct male organ, the show lasts slightly more than an hour -- depending on the length of the question-and-answer segment, during which Kendall improvises comic answers to often intriguing queries. Despite the subject matter, Buckley promises that the entire presentation is G-rated. For Peter's sake, the harshest word in the script is "friggin'." For information, call 303-294-9281. -- Ernie Tucker