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Inside the millennial mind at Rogue Machine

Inside the millennial mind at Rogue Machine
Anikka (Suzanne Quast) falls for the phony prophet Daniel (Jeff Lorch), right, as Sam (Eric Odom) looks on in disbelief in Rogue Machine Theatre's production of "Uploaded," by L.R. Gordon. (John Flynn)

If you weren't already worried about the future, "Uploaded," L.R. Gordon's new play premiering at Rogue Machine, will give you specific reasons to fear the rise of the millennial generation.

The dark comedy, part of Rogue Machine's late-night Off the Clock Series (which produces the work of promising playwrights on shoestring budgets, on the sets of concurrent shows), depicts today's thirtysomethings floundering in a mental stew of narcissism, idealism and misinformation.

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Unemployed, 32-year-old Daniel (Jeff Lorch) is in a bind: His father, who has been paying his rent, is cutting him off. But as Daniel complains to Sam (Eric Odom), his drug dealer, an ordinary job holds no interest for him. He wants to get famous, fast.

On the power of Sam's new pharmaceutical cocktail, "the screwdriver" (half cocaine, half adderall), Daniel has an epiphany. He'll become a prophet, founding a new religion based on a universal trait: DNA.

Sam tolerantly, if skeptically, helps Daniel hash out the details of this cynical scheme. Assuming their conversation is empty rhetoric, Sam is surprised to find himself accompanying his manic client to the desert, where Daniel begins preaching the half-baked cosmology he calls "Uploading."

To Sam's further shock, Daniel quickly reels in a gorgeous convert, dim, scantily clad Anikka (Suzanne Quast), who offers to bear his child. Jealousy inspires Sam to shake off his passivity and intervene, with comically disastrous results.

Gordon's skewering of these three earnest, dopey Gen Y-ers is sharp and often quite witty. (One of Anikka's several businesses is making "kombucha cozies for orthodox Jewish women.") They're so satirically drawn that it's impossible to believe in them (or maybe I just didn't want to), but somehow they're still entertaining; and the far-fetched story has a bold, absurdist flair.

Mark L. Taylor directs the appealing performers with vivid, occasionally over-the-top energy.

"Uploaded." Rogue Machine in Theatre/Theater, 5041 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Ends Nov. 22. (855) 585-5185 or roguemachinetheatre.com/wordpress/show-info/uploaded/. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

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