"The Funny Side of Death, with an Explosive Finale...this is an impressive debut, memorably presented." -The New York Times
Obsessed With Death
Genre: dark comedy
Keyword: red cross, death, disaster, sex, power, fear
Synopsis: The premise has Ted and Sam, two Red Cross disaster workers, in their hotel room after a day of photographing the havoc of a roof cave-in and counseling survivors. Ted is visibly upset by the finality of death at the disaster and wants to hash it out with Sam, who takes it in stride, sees death as a phase and is bent on a night out with a woman curiosity seeker whom he met at the site. He undergoes a number of startling changes that lead to a violent demise.
Workshopped: WBE Soundstage - Kansas City, MO - 1992
World Premiere : Unicorn Theatre - Kansas City, MO - 1993
Off-Broadway: Alice’s Fourth Floor - New York, NY - 1995
Chicago Premiere: National Pastime Theatre - Chicago, IL1998
Published: Plays On Tape - 1998
* Winner of the 1993 National Playwright's Award bestowed each year by the Unicorn Theatre.
February 20, 1994 By John Quinn Publication: Variety
He has kept it absorbing and funny throughout, with dialogue in the everyday mode.
Simonian’s work is unusually good for a first effort, worthy of production beyond little theater, possibly the basis also for a telefilm or motion picture.
REVIEWS: IN PERFORMANCE; THEATER
March 20, 1995 By D.J.R. Bruckner Publication: The New York times
The Funny Side of Death, With an Explosive Finale...this is an impressive debut, memorably presented.
ARTS WATCH. THEATER REVIEW: DEALING WITH DEATH AS A FACT OF LIFE
June 24, 1998 By Chris Jones Publication: Chicago Tribune
Simonian's play (which began life in Kansas City and was generally well-received Off-Broadway in the early 1990s) is very much in the "Pulp Fiction" vein of violent contemporary drama.
With striking similarities to the novel/film "Crash," Simonian probes human responses to death -- pleasure, fear and existential angst. It's not a play for the faint of heart (and it has its sensationalist aspects), but the dramatic situation has sufficient force to keep one involved for the brief duration. More
THANATOS' HAS FUNNY OBSESSION WITH DEATH SCOTT CORDES DIRECTS A RON SIMONIAN SCRIPT FOR NEW THEATER GROUP.
October 11, 1992 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
Just when local stages were looking a bit drowsy, here comes a burst of theater with an attitude.
…it's very funny...the way Ron writes Real life's pretty funny, and I think Ron brings that out. " More
IT'S THUMBS-UP FROM 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' FOR 'THANATOS' - POSITIVE REVIEW MAY EXTEND SHOW'S RUN, ITS KC PLAYWRIGHT SAYS.
March 26, 1995 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
Ron Simonian's early attempts at playwriting were dismissed by college professors as the work of an untalented novice. Now he has received an indelible stamp of approval from The New York Times , the final arbiter of life and death in the New York theater. More
SUDDENLY, EVERYONE WANTS HIM BIG NAMES ARE AFTER PLAYWRIGHT RON SIMONIAN.
April 6, 1994 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
After John Quinn, the local correspondent for Variety, reviewed "Thanatos," Simonian began getting calls. So far he's received interest from Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Disney. More
LIFE IS SEX AND THEN YOU DIE OK, NOT QUITE, BUT `THANATOS' EXPLORES THOSE THEMES
January 22, 1994 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
Sex and violence - without them would there be dramatic art? Probably not. "Thanatos," a two-act play by local playwright Ron Simonian explores those ever-intriguing subjects. " "Does the fact that we know we're going to die make us relish life more, or does that kind of take the flavor out of life?
…"Thanatos,"... blends startling conflicts with a brutal sense of humor. More
`THANATOS' IS SKILLFUL ON ALL COUNTS KC WRITER'S PLAY EXPLORES OUR CULTURE'S ATTITUDES ABOUT DEATH.
January 31, 1994 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
Simonian's play, a thought-provoking exploration of our cultural attitudes about death, is intelligent, challenging, highly comic, palpably erotic and graphically violent. More
'THANATOS' FINDS A WINDY PLACE TO PLAY THIS SUMMER CHICAGO THEATER IS DRAWN TO PLAYWRIGHT'S 'ABUSE OF STYLE.'
June 14, 1998 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
An attitudinal Chicago theater company whose artistic director thinks audience abuse is a desirable goal will produce Kansas City playwright Ron Simonian's ``Thanatos. '' Simonian's work might best be categorized as abrasive, surrealistic farce, and ``Thanatos'' is so far the most widely produced of his plays (it was staged twice in Kansas City and once in New York). More