October 23, 2015

Daphne Rubin-Vega’s bewitching beauty seems to transform in “Empanada Loca,” an exuberantly macabre solo show written and directed by Aaron Mark for the Labyrinth Theater Company. As you watch her strip away the layers of her character’s apparent normality to reveal a woman who can placidly discuss the most gruesome acts imaginable, Ms. Rubin-Vega seems to take on a furtive, almost feral quality that had me shivering all the way home. The play is set in the lower depths of New York, in an abandoned subway tunnel where a few desperate souls live in an eternal night. Ms. Rubin-Vega nimbly portrays several characters, but her primary role is that of Dolores, whose last remaining worldly possession appears to be the massage table on which she perches for much of the evening as she regales us with the downward spiral of her life. (The set design, by David Meyer, and Bradley King’s crepuscular lighting help set the goose-pimply tone.)