“You don’t have to telegraph how sick you are,” admonishes one of the characters in Kelly Stuart’s “Shoot,” at the Cast-at-the-Circle Theatre. Stuart might well have listened to this advice when she created the misfits of “Shoot.”
At first these people are darkly comic, in the same way an underground comic might be. But not many people read the same underground comic for more than an hour, and after a while the people of “Shoot” wear out their welcome.
Stuart created matched sets of parents and children at one another’s throats. Nick (Harvey Perr), who runs a low-rent photo studio, is always banning his gangly son Hodie (Joe Goodrich) from the premises, but Hodie keeps returning. Nick hires Barbara (Pamela Gordon) as an assistant partially to keep Hodie out, but instead Barbara brings her own disdainful but dependent daughter, Monette (Lola Glaudini), along with her.
The two offspring are caricatured with bold, sharp details by the actors. Goodrich stands and moves like some sort of demented bird. Glaudini flexes her snarling muscles and her sneering glances. Although she begins to think of herself as a model for Nick, she wears her clothes as if she were a flagpole.
Perr’s sleazoid is properly disgusting, and Gordon’s shipshape scourge of would-be shoplifters is funny. So are some of Stuart’s details about these paltry people and the way they insult and humiliate one another.
But any hint of character development is kept resolutely superficial, and the narrative’s arbitrary quality is largely unengaging. A few hours later, the actors are a lot easier to remember than the play itself.
* “Shoot,” Cast-at-the-Circle Theatre, 804 N. El Centro, Hollywood. Today-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.; May 14, 19, 20, 26, 27, June 2, 3, 11, 8 p.m.; May 15, June 12, 7 p.m. $12. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.