Albuquerque Journal

‘Playground Injuries’ explores love and healing


Love hurts.

Especially when it occurs between two made-for-each-other masochists.

Kayleen and Doug meet as wounded children at the age of 8 in their parochial school infirmary. “Gruesome Playground Injuries” follows the pair across 38 years through an exploded eye socket and split-open face, a mental institutio­n, a funeral parlor and selected hospital rooms.

Duke City Repertory will perform Rajiv Joseph’s Pulitzer-finalist play beginning Thursday, Sept. 21. The show runs Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 1.

It isn’t really as gory as it sounds, Duke City artistic director Amelia Ampuero said.

“The play is exploring themes of love and healing, and I think it does it through this metaphor,” she said. “There is some kind of injury in each scene. For the most part, they don’t inflict the violence on each other.”

Doug’s injuries are all accidental. Kayleen’s are self-inflicted.

“They are quite gruesome,” Ampuero acknowledg­ed. “One of the scenes’ titles is ‘Eye Blown Out.’”

“You think this is going to be very

depressing,” she continued. “There are moments that are so funny.”

Doug is a daredevil who courts disaster on rooftops; he rides his bike off one. Kayleen is a self-cutter with a corrosive father and a depressive streak.

Her persistent rejection of Doug’s cautious overtures keeps romance at bay — yet they share the most profound bond of their lives.

This damage digs deeper than skin and bone.

 ??  ?? Ezra Colón and Amelia Ampuero star in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” at Duke City Repertory.
Ezra Colón and Amelia Ampuero star in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” at Duke City Repertory.

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