A man, a woman, a waiter, and their  alter-egosgo head-to-head in The Chaos Theories
A man, a woman, a waiter, and their alter-egos
go head-to-head in The Chaos Theories
Everybody wants order, but life is inherently chaotic. At least, that's what Shotgun Productions wants us to believe with The Chaos Theories, an evening of several short scenes and monologues by Alex Dinelaris. Chaos exists in the minds of people on a blind date, a prostitute visiting a confessional, and a woman who just wants to have a stress-free day. These characters struggle to make sense of their lives but everything crashes down around them, with results that are both touching and hilarious.

As with many shows comprised of short segments, The Chaos Theories has some that work and some that don't. The evening starts off with a bang (literally) as a man encounters a TV anchor on a train platform and pulls a gun on him. Just before he shoots, the lights go out; when they come up again, a female stock broker delivers "Playing Ball," the first of the show's four monologues.

We return to the tension-filled train platform at several points throughout the evening but the majority of the other pieces are purely comic. "Blind Date" introduces not only a man, a woman, and their waiter but also the alter-egos of all three, who stand behind them and declare what the characters are really thinking. Andrew Salomon, voicing the waiter's inner thoughts, is right on target as he yells his frustration at customers who don't appreciate his hard work.

When The Chaos Theories is poignant, it's usually in one of the monologues. For example, Linda S. Nelson plays a homeless woman searching for kindness in "Harry's Girl." Not at all bashful, the woman is quick to jump into conversation with passersby and ready to retaliate if anyone fails to respect her, as when another woman says that she thought Mayor Giuliani had "cleaned up" the homeless problem.

"Glenda, Garry, Glen, & Rose" takes place in the house of a somewhat dysfunctional family as the daughter is preparing for a date. The scene is clever, especially when the father and brother begin to annoy the date with foul language and by constantly interrupting each other. "Green Light," depicting a script meeting with a Hollywood producer, tends to drag, but that's partly due to the fact that it follows the compelling "Forgiven" (the one about the prositute's confession). The Chaos Theories saves the best for last with its final monologue, "My Day," in which a woman tells of the chaos in her own little world.

The show comes full circle as it closes with one more scene set on the train platform; it ends exactly where and how it started, proving that maybe there is some order in a chaotic world after all.