In playwright Robert Ross Parker’s exceptionally dark farce Goodbye Cruel World, the haplessly unemployed Semyon Semyonovich Podsekalnikov announces his intention to end his life. Rather than eliciting concern, Semyon’s suicidal declaration leads to a progression of outlandish advice for following through with killing himself. Though these callous urgings are voiced by a gallery of figures, each harbors a not-so-secret desire to profit from Semyon’s tragic fate. The comically bleak view of human nature in Parker’s narrative was directly derived from the original source material, The Suicide, by Soviet playwright Nikolai Erdman. (When it premiered in Russia in 1928, The Suicide so offended Stalin that the work was banned and Erdman was exiled.) Rather than shying away from the piece’s absurdist perspective, Parker amplifies the ridiculous scenario, ensuring a cathartic supply of gallows humor. Directed by Andrew Chambers, this much anticipated new production from Theatre Pro Rata features Derek Meyer in the lead role of Semyon with a supporting cast consisting of Elizabeth Efteland, Katie Kaufmann, Jim Ramlet, Ben Tallen, and Edwin Strout. For tickets and more information, visit theatreprorata.com.