A date with death

Photo courtesy of Rogue Festival

The colorful walls of the Tower District’s Ashtree Studios displayed a variety of abstract art, dominated by a giant purple button—hardly the place where one would expect to have a run-in with Death.

But there he was, a rotund fellow, decked out in black leather and raccoon-like eye makeup, conversing with a gray-wigged woman leaning on a cane.

“If you want me to reap your soul,” he told her, “you’re going to have to die.”

This was Grim D. Reaper, star of the Rogue Festival’s “Chronicles of Death,” courtesy of The People Next Door Theatre Company, imparting nuggets of wisdom to characters desperate enough to be considering suicide.

“It’s the only way out of my crappy life,” a young brunette said in a trembling voice, surrounded by the gallery’s depictions of rubber duckies and owls.

“This doesn’t have anything to do with a guy, does it?” Grim D. asked.

Later on in the show, a skinny shirtless guy in a robe held a gun to his head, providing the nudity portion of the R-rated comedy.

“Only a real dumbass would kill himself because he has a small dick,” the Reaper commented.

The final scene saw Death in a Hawaiian print shirt and shades, sitting down with an atheist pal for a generous helping of eggs and milk at the Limbo Diner.

His last words of the evening were brief. “You have to grab life by the balls and then yank.”

Celestine Thoren, a junior music composition major, chose to see “Chronicles of Death” because it sounded different than some of the other Rogue acts.

“I went on the Rogue site looking for events that sounded interesting,” Thoren said. “I thought this show was pretty funny. It could have been better, but it could have been worse.”

Mitchell Salt, who portrayed the guy in the robe, was especially pumped for this particular performance. “This is my first time being a part of Rogue,” said the Fresno City freshman, “and it’s also my first paid gig.”

He also thought it was a smart idea to bare his chest for his audience. “Nudity of any kind gets people in the door,” he said. “Just throw in some boobs, and here they come.”

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