Moulinet

Motortown

MOTORTOWN
fight design by Matt Hawkins
Review by William Endsley

When Danny comes marching home again, there are no huzzahs. In fact, his brother and his girl friend are afraid—make that very much afraid. And it's this fear that sets up the violence in Motortown. The victims' own terror is what makes Matt Hawkins' standard-issue grabs, gun play and blood-packs take on new dimensions. By the time we see Danny torture and murder a young runaway, it is our expectation of the violent act, more than the act itself, that makes it so horrible. Danny's letters home and his goonie-eyed appearance on cable news as "our hero from the front" make the industrialized violence war breeds all too real for the people who knew our soldier before his stint in Basra.

Now that he's home, his girlfriend has explicitly warned him to stay away—a warning he ignores. When he grabs her arm in a coffee shop—a simple scuffle in any of the kitchen-sink dramas that dominating Chicago stages—her heightened reaction and his war-ready physique raise the tension. Danny doesn't understand. He didn't mean to hurt her.

Inevitably, he goes to a gun shop, and then to a whorehouse, where he meets a young girl he kidnaps. The pivotal scene then begins, with Danny bringing gun, girl, gas-can and body-bag onstage. He burns her with a cigarette, pretends to set her on fire and finally shoots her in the stomach (the shot is not live, but recorded as a part of the excellent sound design by Matthew Chapman). After dutifully capturing the carnage in cell phone pics, as the blood pools out onto the stage, our GI is left to deal with the results of his murderous actions. Like a good boy, he cleans up his mess before heading to the pub.