At one pont during "Flight Patterns," a member of the cast steps forward on the stage and reassures the audience: "You're probably a little confused by what you've seen up to now . . . but it all gets tied together later."
Unfortunately, "Flight Patterns" doesn't deliver on that promise, and confusion reigns to the end.
The free-form production of the Paradise Island Express Theater Company, a group founded in Washington five years ago to produce original theatrical material, can be seen this week on the small loft stage of the Washington Project for the Arts.
"Flight Patterns," we are told, is an outgrowth of scenes written by PIE playwright Paul Lavrakas for use in an experimental workshop.
Whatever the 'outgrowth" was, the PIE production remains disconnected workshop scenes strung together on the stage by a few cross-reference lines and the belief that the scenes explore various meanings of the word "flight."
The cast of six is given a chance to display its individual acting talents through some 30 roles in 26 "scenes." Among others, they play Christopher Columbus; Icarus, members of an ordinary American family, William McKinley and his assassin, and a junkie who kills his wife in a William Tell episode in a Mexican cave stuffed with mummies.
In the melange of roles and scenes, the cast members do have their acting moments.
Michael Henderson shows his range in deft interpretations from the all-American father to Leon Czologosz, the assassin of McKinley. Wallace Wilhoit adroitly embodies Truehart, Lavrakas' pop-western version of the beatnik drifter.
Also meeting the challenge of a number of roles are Lynn Brice Rooney, Julie Lichtblau, Carlos Cardona and Adrian Engel.
Lavrakas does have some funny lines and scenes (McKinley chiding his assassin in heaven: "They didn't name a mountain for you"), but "Flight Patterns" begins and ends in confusion, without style or substance to unify the scenes.
It would be interesting to see what the PIE company could do with a script beyond these workshop exercises.
"Flight Patterns" will be performed at 8 p.m. through Saturday at the storefront Washington Project for the Arts, 1227 G St. NW.