Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them

Photo: Joan Marcus

(Some spoilers) This show is vintage Christopher Durang: weird, funny, disconcerting, occasionally arbritrary, occasionally meaningful, edgy, and, well, uneven. I personally had trouble getting into it because much of the first act focuses on a woman being seriously threatened, at length, by a dangerous and crazy man, which is not my idea of a comedy. I understand why Durang set up the play the way he did, but I wish he hadn't. He could have written just as strong a piece--possibly even stronger--without treating as humorous the possibility that the man had drugged the woman and then had sex with her without her consent. This is not a political or theoretical objection--it's pragmatic. First, the set-up kept me and at least some other people at arm's length from the play. Second, the overall story would have been more effective if the man was nice or at least nice-ish. By the time the show ended, however, Durang had won me over, and I ultimately enjoyed the mix of insanity, political commentary, and wistfulness. The cast and direction were effective, and special mention must be made of David Korins' multifaceted, attractive carousel of a set.

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