One aspect of contemporary theater that often goes overlooked is, simply, telling a good story. Strip away the special effects, elaborate costumes and voice-overs, and we are left with the stark, often unexpected power of a story's ability to move an audience. This is precisely what "The K of D: An Urban Legend" does. Known simply as "The Girl" (Gwendolyn Whiteside), our inexhaustibly talented narrator, dovetails effortlessly from character to colorful character in her sleepy Ohio town, as she recounts the urban legend of Charlotte McGraw, who is instilled with a mysterious power after her twin brother is killed by the town menace. Whiteside gracefully manages to capture the quirks and eccentricities of every person in her small town and, in the bat of an eye, switches from bully to drunkard to ditzy teenager to shy, reserved mute.
It's damn near impossible not to be wooed by the poetic pantomime and rural ramblings of "The K of D" (written by Laura Schellhardt), with insights such as, "If God wants to find you, he don't send a Dodge, that's for sure." What's even more amazing is that a play about supernatural powers is told with such simplicity - minimal props, very little staging. Yet the effect is made all the more compelling because of it. The townspeople, each one a kind of lost soul, all battle with their own limitations in the face of loss, despair and helplessnesss. As you're being entertained by the banter of adolescents intent on keeping Charlotte's urban legend alive, the play is also stewing in daunting life questions that can't be easily resolved. This is what resonates most after the play is over, despite the highly amusing caricatures of the townspeople.
Of course, the true sign of success for any good ghost story is whether or not it continues to be told. In the case of "The K of D," I predict its success to continue long after the campfire has died out.