.‘Last Quiz Night’ at Left Edge

If an asteroid were headed straight for Earth and the total destruction of the planet imminent, would you:

a. Head for home and the family

b. Head for a place of worship and prayer

c. Head for a bar and a trivia contest

If you answered “c,” then Santa Rosa’s Left Edge Theatre has a show for you. Alison Carr’s The Last Quiz Night on Earth runs at The California through April 13.

The bar area of the California has been transformed into The Four Horsemen pub, where proprietor Kathy (Serena Elize Flores) has decided the best way to face the impending apocalypse is to just keep on keeping on, which means Quiz Night at the pub will go on. Genial host Rav (Danny Bañales) has five rounds of trivia ready to go, and the bartender is ready to serve you the drink of your choice (at regular prices, just in case the asteroid doesn’t hit).

Audience members are encouraged to form teams and compete. Questions are along the lines of “What is the coldest planet in our solar system?”, “Globophobia is the fear of what?” and “What actress has received the most Oscar nominations but zero wins?”

Amongst the five rounds of trivia, two other visitors arrive at the bar. Bobby (Mike Schaeffer) appears to have a strained relationship with Kathy. Fran (Nora Summers) seems to want to have a relationship with Rav. These personal dramas play out as the audience plays trivia.

Will the interpersonal conflicts be resolved? Will the Earth be pulverized?

SPOILER ALERT: Yes and yes.

Directors Jenny Hollingworth and Argo Thompson bring a uniquely immersive/interactive experience to the North Bay that works better from the trivia perspective than it does as theater. Anyone who’s ever gone to a trivia night knows how engaged the teams can be. A good deal of the first act’s drama gets lost amongst the chatter.

“Drama” per se is pretty perfunctory, but the actors handle it well and get more of an opportunity to shine in the second act simply because there’s less trivia to steal focus.

The bar stays open after the performance concludes, and audiences can stay for karaoke after the Friday night shows. The show is scheduled to continue on as a monthly event as long as audiences continue to show up.

The Last Quiz Night on Earth is a pleasant little theatrical diversion.

Oh. Neptune, balloons and Glenn Close. Don’t worry. The questions change weekly.

Left Edge Theatre’s ‘The Last Quiz Night on Earth’ runs through April 13 at The California Theatre, 528 7th St., Santa Rosa. Thu–Fri, 7:30pm; Sat., 1pm. $20–$29. 707.664.7529. leftedgetheatre.com.


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