After an unnamed but probably nuclear holocaust, Gus (Kauzlaric) and Jacob (Byrnes) have been cooped up by themselves in an underground hidey-hole for an undetermined amount of time; subsisting on cockroaches and three-eyed rats, they’re so hungry that counting the days has ceased to be a priority. But today’s going to turn out to be one to mark on the calendar as they’re discovered by Trish (Myers), another survivor and the first woman they’ve seen in ages. And Trish has a useful tool: a really big knife.
Motormouth Gus pipes up that he’s seen, on one of his hunting and gathering missions, a tribe of people eating its children. “People get eaten,” Jacob allows. “This is especially true of kids.” If you think comedy can’t get much darker than that, you’ll soon be proved wrong. By the end of The End, it doesn’t seem much like a comedy at all.
The three performers work well together, though they don’t spend much time together as a trio. Most of The End belongs to Gus’s babbling. Trish gets a bit to say, Jacob much less, but the real problem with all of them is that they speak not in dialogue but in epigrams. That’s fine for Oscar Wilde comedies or the Gilmore Girls, but considering where Gershenzon takes his play by the end, his writing feels awfully glib; it’s like Apocalypse Now as penned by Diablo Cody. The starving Jacob worries about the calories he’s burning by lifting his finger; we’re afraid this play is nothing but empty calories.