The Twilight Saga has already provided plenty of opportunities for parody, and the bare-bones performance outfit, Ornamental Messiah from Newport, adds another to the list with their 60-minute production of Third Quarter Moon.
The setup is a point-for-point reconstruction of the Stephanie Myers tent pole: Livia Swain, played with an excess of sass by Mindy Heithaus, has been forced to move in with her dim father, who also happens to be the police chief of a tiny town. She enters a rather confusing love triangle with Edwin Hewitt, who claims to be a vampire, but turns out instead to be an investment banker, and a local lowlife named Kalife, who happens to be a mummy from 1200 B.C, and has the unfortunate habit of removing his shirt to expose his bandages.
All of the men mentioned above are played by Brad Cupples, who has a few good moments when the two rivals are fighting over Livia, which forces him to hold the fez of one fellow and the hairpiece of the other in either hand, while he growls back and forth in the voices of the two characters.
Throughout the script, much is made of the comparison between the bloodletting of the financial and supernatural worlds, but metaphor is both a little too easy and a little too forced to effectively act as a hook.
The performances and production values are both slapdash, feeling as if a few university theater grads decided that it would be fun to throw together a satire of an easily ridiculed piece of pop culture, only to realize that the subject is beneath them. Despite the palpable lack of commitment, there are a few lines that have a nice Shavian sort of twist, my favorite being: “If only I could live in the noble dignity of poverty.”
Another of these occurs when Edwin tries to reassure Livia as she is about to confront an invading horde of hedge fund managers. In a voice wrenched with concern, he says, “I want you to fend for yourself.” It’s a funny moment, but the warning applies as well to anyone looking for Fringe fare that’s a little more polished and carefully constructed.