I'll be the first to admit that I have seen very little Mamet. That's because the little I have seen, I haven't liked. A lot of drab little men in drab suits cursing at each other at the top of their lungs. Dare I say that Mamet seems to celebrate characters I'd just as soon never meet?
Today, I saw "Sexual Perversity in Chicago, " produced by The Paladin Theatre Company at The Off Center. I liked it.
The play is short, which is good, because much longer spent in the company of Bernard Litko would probably make me break out in hives. By the end of the play, I was thinking, "If I wanted to hang around with a narcissist, I would have stayed with my ex-husband." The play is sad. Four people--God, they are all so young--trying to find some meaning in their lives. Two of them hook up and fail Relationship 101.
Bernie (director Charles Stites) is played with a touch light enough to make him funny. Sad, but funny. Like Archie Bunker, one could wish him on the path of the dinosaurs; however, he is alive and well in Austin TX and every other place I can think of. Charles is a really good actor, creating a character sure to give any woman the heebie jeebies.
Joan (Breanna Stogner) is another who is very familiar to me. There are worse things than being alone.
Having my own jaded view of relationships, that between Dan (Mason Stewart) and Deborah (Briana McKeague) seems naive and superficial in the extreme. Young. They are so very young...and so well-meaning.
The characters are real, and I came to care what happened to them. I laughed wholeheartedly in places. Whether or not you like Mamet, you may well like this show.
Marco Noyola's set design is good, with several different levels and areas, lit effectively by Amy Lewis. Amy is really good at isolating small areas, and uses her skills here to great effect.
As a costumer, you know I'm going to notice clothes. When each character has only one costume, the designer has only one chance to get it right. Oddly (or not), the guys wore the typical Mamet uniform through most of the show. Joan and Deborah, on the other hand, have more evocative costumes. Joan's dress is glossy, tight through the bust and unforgiving. Deborah wears a soft knit that stretches hither and yon. By their very clothing, they signal that Deborah is available and Joan is not.
There is something in this production for almost anyone who can handle the language...and there is language. In short, go. It closes on the 30th. Details at the link.