By SHIRLEY PULAWSKI
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Are you in need of an escape from holiday demands and entertainment thrust at us from every direction? Looking for something unusual to do after holiday shopping in Buffalo? Interested in a new spin on the end of the world? If so, writer Jon Elston's offbeat new play, "2012: End of the Road," just might be right for you.
Fredonia actress Tina Rausa is featured in “2012: End of the Road.”
The play is set in a place with which many area residents are familiar: the I-90 rest stop in Angola, where a small group huddles in a rest stop restaurant waiting for a snow storm to wreak travel havoc. The familiarities of the situation probably end there.
Elston says his play is "a lot like watching a horror movie unfold live, on stage, before your eyes," and adds, there is "tons of information flying at you, non-stop," providing "no easy answers, and characters usually only say everything that's essential once. And just about everything is essential."
The travelers and rest stop employees who did not manage to escape the rest stop before the storm hits on Dec. 21, 2012 begin to discover the snow storm is giving way to something seemingly impossible and much more sinister. The group is trapped at the rest stop, left to face the storm and threats at every turn, along with their own faults, interpersonal tensions and quirky tendencies during "the Mayan apocalypse in Buffalo."
'2012: End of the Road'
Where: Market Arcade, 629 Main St. near Chippewa, Buffalo
Show time: Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Cost: $30 for adults, $25 for seniors. $15 student pricing on select days.
Parking: Free by redemption in the M&T Bank lot, Chippewa and Washington
For more information: Call 629-3069 or visit http://roadlesstraveledproductions.org
Co-starring in the play is Fredonia resident and 30-year veteran of the stage, Tina Rausa. Her character, Dr. Sophia Nitzh, is a brainy pragmatist who starts to see a pattern in some of the strange events unfolding at the rest stop. Some may recognize Rausa from her recent appearance in a television commercial for Independent Health, or from local theater. Rausa has appeared in numerous plays at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House and is also known for her work with the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, as well as her one-woman suffrage show in which she portrays Susan B. Anthony.
"The play is wonderful," Rausa said, "It's a thriller, it's a little sci-fi, and it's funny," and added, "The dialog is sharp. It's an engaging piece."
The play is a production of the Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP), a theater group Alec Baldwin has supported by performing in annual benefit shows.
"RLTP is truly cutting edge theater without being 'way out there.' It's understandable, not experimental and weird," Rausa explained.
Rausa told the OBSERVER she is especially enjoying her role in "2012: End of the Road" because the crew's performance is very cohesive.
"What I really love about it is the cast. We've created such a bond. It's a true ensemble piece. Any time the director, Scott Behrend, would us direction, you knew everyone would go home and figure it out and come back prepared," Rausa said, and noted as an actor, "You only had to worry about yourself."
Behrend is also the founder and artistic director of RLTP.
The play isn't for everyone, Elston says.
"It's moreover a really dense, hyper-literate, meta-textual, ultra-enigmatic existential mystery of a horror movie," he explained, and "a spooky, freaky fun house of 21st century anxiety and dread," but Rausa said it's also fun. "You need to come with a sense of humor," she said. "It's character-driven, like good TV, and we're having fun. It hits on all angles. It's terrific."
The play continues to run until Dec 2, with performances Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre at 629 Main St. at Chippewa. Pricing is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students on select days. Call 629-3069 for details, or order tickets online at roadlesstraveledproductions.org.
Free parking (by $3 refund) is available near the downtown venue in the M&T Bank parking lot with entrances on Chippewa between Washington and Ellicott streets. Keep the receipt from the $3 parking fee and redeem for a refund at the Market Arcade.