Lodick to put on “Slaughterhouse V” performance at Subversive Theatre

By Benjamin Joe, Reporter

Michael Lodick is a talented director of plays such as “End Days,” “The Gin Game,” “The Love Song of J. Robert Openheimer,” and “Jesus Hates Me.” He is putting on a performance of “Slaughterhouse V” by Kurt Vonnegut at Subversive Theatre’s Great Arrow location off of Elmwood Ave., north of SUNY Buffalo State.

The play opens on Sept.10 and will run five weeks into October.

Lodick describes it briefly by explaining that Billy Pilgrim, the main character, somehow gets “unhinged from time” while he’s a soldier in WWII.

“Billy is sort of like an actor with permanent stage fright because he knows what is going to happen but he is never sure exactly what he’s supposed to do,” Lodick said.

Lodick goes on to applaud Kurt Vonnegut, who he describes as being kind of “snarky,” but also quite funny. Vonnegut wrote the book that this script was based upon.

The play moves back and forth from each portion of his life which ranges from being eight years old, to fighting in Dresden during the bombing which Vonnegut witnessed firsthand, to being a 45-year-old optometrist with a wife and daughters, to being held captive by an alien race who are bewildered by earthlings insistence of free will and view of time as being as concrete and solid as a sidewalk in the summer. In other words: No changes.

So while Pilgrim takes in his life over and over again, the play continuously returns to the bombing of Dresden during WWII, which was when napalm was first used.

“The central moment of the play is the firebombing of Dresden which Billy Pilgrim went through and survived, and that’s also true for Kurt Vonnegut who was a prisoner when it was firebombed,” Lodick said.

So intense that it actually created its own fiery cyclone. Lodick describes the bombing as being far more horrific than the first nuclear bomb detonated in Japan. The heat was so intense that many people were boiled alive after jumping into vats of water to escape. To demonstrate this onstage, several special effects and tricks with the lighting will be employed.

Another aspect of the play that is really quite exciting is the use of puppets depicting the Tralfamadorians, which are essentially plunger shaped beings with many hands, and eyes in the palm of each. Like Billy, these beings can go anywhere in time, as easily as moving through space.

About 40 people can fit in Subversive Theatre and tickets will be $25 on Fridays, Saturdays and on a matinee on Sundays. On Thursdays, donations are welcome for the show. It runs for approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. John Kennedy will portray an aging Pilgrim and Sam Zimmerman the younger. An eight-year-old boy also plays Pilgrim as a child. The narrator, essentially Vonnegut himself, will be played by Tim Joyce.

“A large part of the play poses some very philosophical questions about free will,” Lodick said. “Vonnegut offers a very interesting view of ourselves. How we interact with different people, how we deal, it’s all just part and partial to who we are.”