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Coffee's on in vicious comedy

Actor P. Adrien Dorval is putting the coffee on. But he's not inviting you to a friendly kafé klatsch.

Actor P. Adrien Dorval is putting the coffee on. But he's not inviting you to a friendly kafé klatsch. The professional actor will bring a lot of nasty characters to life in the satirical one-man show written by Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Eric Bogosian, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, to open at the Heritage Playhouse this weekend.

It's been described as a vicious comedy, a ferocious ride through a modern day jungle in which Dorval assassinates everything from pop culture to conformity to religious hypocrisy to human nature itself.

"It's not a big, warm hug," Dorval said. "It's about human greed, human obsessions."

Dorval explains that Bogosian talks about hope, then he snuffs out that hope, but he still keeps looking for it.

"Although at the end of the day, he secretly hopes that the world is OK," Dorval added.

The theme matches Dorval's own mood: "My own negativity attracted me to it at the time," he said.

Dorval cheerfully describes himself as obnoxious, an image he's cultivated after playing bad guy roles. This Gemini Award nominated artist and Gibsons resident has been involved in more than 120 productions in his career.

When he moved to the Coast from Vancouver three years ago, his career took some hits and his business failed. But his performance in Driftwood Players production of The Drawer Boy in 2009 was an acting triumph, and he has since been featured in indie film maker Bruce McDonald's movie Hard Core Logo 2, a performance he is proud of. Recently he rehearsed for another play that just didn't have the bite he wanted. When he came across Bogosian's work, Dorval knew that it suited him.

It's a one-man show with a bevy of characters told in 19 monologues. Some viewers may take issue with the use of the f-word, Dorval expects; others will find the subject matter controversial.

"Come yell at me at the end of the show," he asks. "I'd rather you didn't, but if you have to, then I say 'yay'."

The audience will be invited to meet at Benjamin's Café following the performances. There are also some surprises planned for the show that audiences may enjoy.

Dorval gives credit to his production team: co-producer and co-director Allithia Reid who co-wrote and directed Homecare: A Love Story for Pico Productions. Stage manager Adrienne Ucciferri was responsible for making the terrific life-sucking plants in Little Shop of Horrors. She has also worked on other Driftwood productions and assisted backstage in The Drawer Boy. Lighting and sound technician Billie Carroll, who has a passion for theatre, is a part of the regular tech team at the theatre.

The play runs tonight (Feb. 25) and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Then again March 3 to 5 and 10 to 12 at 8 p.m. There will be matinées at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 and March 6. Tickets for $20 are available at Gaia's Fair Trade, Hallmark Cards and the Sechelt Visitors' Centre.