Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bass for Picasso

Photo: Carol Rosegg

The Theater Breaking Through Barriers production of Bass for Picasso makes surprising mistakes for a play written, directed, and performed by theatre professionals with extensive credits. Described in the press release as "an insanely funny, irreverent 90-minute look at gay and lesbian life in the new millennium," it is in reality a random and arbitrary array of extreme situations and rarely funny one-liners. Each character is assigned a grab bag of traits that don't quite cohere, and their actions reflect the author's attempts to be funny rather than human behavior. Similarly, the cast members play the jokes instead of the situations, italicizing every supposedly funny line (and killing the few that are genuinely funny). Bass for Picasso also strives for significance, touching on drug and alcohol addiction, child custody, and the perils of giving birth at 13--the last in a monologue that seems dropped in from another show. Finally, if you're going to play child abuse for laughs, it would help if the depiction were remotely funny.

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