“Angels” speak creep

Set in the forgotten corners of Appalachia, Yale Cabaret’s final show of the semester, “Language of Angels,” follows a group of old friends dealing with the aftermath of a mysterious tragedy. “Dawson’s Creek” meets David Lynch in this eerie play, when one of the friends, Celie, goes missing during a normal evening of teenage debauchery at a cave.

The constraints of time become irrelevant as the audience is transported to many pasts, presents and futures to see how Celie’s disappearance, and her subsequent otherworldly reappearances, impact her companions on that fateful night. Scenes jump 50 years ahead and then 30 years back, like a faulty time machine, as the play folds time upon itself, leaving us with no clear sense of where the present truly exists.

“Language of Angels” seems to have taken a cue from every frightening movie ever made to portray Celie, a ghost/angel/{insertotherspiritualfigure}, played by Emily Trask DRA ’11. Much like the creepy girl from “The Ring,” Celie shuffles around the scenes with stringy hair dangling over her face. She sings an ethereal, nightmare-inducing tune with ambiguous lyrics. She wears a bright white dress that sharply stands out from the all-encompassing dark of her surroundings. And there’s a reason these things have become horror film clichés — they’re fucking creepy. I actually screamed during the play. Twice.

As the frenzied and emotionally disturbed Seth, Nathan Roberts DRA ’10 is fantastic. He immediately enthralls the audience with his enigmatically worded opening monologue. We soon learn that something happened to Celie in a local cave, but the details are unclear. Seth describes his journey back into the endless and pitch-black cave, face glistening with sweat and shaking with panic. He never makes it out — just one of the many friends who meet a strange and sad fate after Celie’s disappearance.

Liz Wisan DRA ’10 also gives an outstanding performance as Danielle. In one notable scene, which flits back and forth between a memory and a reality without warning, Danielle cries that she “can’t put it all together, all the pieces, like a puzzle.” Her distress over her fading mind, as she nears hyperventilation, is absorbing and believable.

The scant and unembellished set design, composed, at its flashiest, of nothing more than the front of a car and some adolescent graffiti, contrasts with the vast plot intricacies and twists. The words of “Language of Angels” are enough to create a vivid story. Despite the rural drawls and simple speech of the characters, each sentence feels weighted. The monologues are almost poetic, graceful and blunt at the same time.

In the end, “Language of Angels” is a frightful masterpiece that starts with the idea of an angel and turns all normal conceptions upside down. The show is a powerful end to another impressive season at the Cabaret.

The Yale Cabaret is located at 217 Park St. “Language of Angels” will play tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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