May 29, 2015

Doom is more than lapping at the shores of their wooded sanctuary off the coast of Maine. The rising surf is claiming the island, and not so slowly either. New York has already been stricken. Venice, too. So things are not looking great for the little band of nouveau-agrarian homesteaders in “The Upper Room” at the New Ohio Theater. Written and directed by Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady, it’s a semi-fantastical play with a very dry sense of humor, always handy when dystopia threatens. But its most distinctive feature is a sonic glow as entrancing as a phosphorescent sea. Vocally complex, rich and consistently surprising, Catherine Brookman’s music elevates the play onto another plane. You might not expect a tune about dirt to wend its way inside you, but “Soil Song” does. If kelpies were real, you might think you’d finally heard one in the eerie “Wood + Water.” Ms. Brookman performs the music with the eight other actors, backed by Joe White on guitar. She plays Hannah, who as the play begins is missing and presumed dead — and, really, it’s quite a presumption, since all that’s turned up of her is her shoes.