By Joseph N. Feinstein – May 2004
This one-act, sixty-minute play evinces both Mr. Mamet’s inexperience and future greatness. In any event, it features four actors – Kyle Bornheimer, Bob Rusch, Julie Mintz and Pip Newson – who are definitely headed for stardom.
Bernie’s (Rusch) fast-talking, wise-ass remarks about women to his buddy Danny (Bornheimer) reflect the cleverness and understanding of human nature in the neophyte Mamet’s depiction of a summer in 1976. Deborah’s (Mintz) innocence in her live-together relationship with Danny also portrays the pitfalls in such an arrangement. And Joan’s (Newson) caustic remarks and overt jealousy in losing a friend were acted with just the right intonations.
This play, like several others seen lately, makes the mistake of using at least twenty blackouts in the sixty minutes of performance. In fact, there’s more black than light during its running time. One can become breathless following the characters and their interactions. Just when the viewer is getting into the action of the scene, it’s over. Strangely, one of the best scenes in the play happens during one of the blackouts.
Perversity is being “directed away from anything right or good.” In this case, Mamet is attempting to show us – as if we didn’t already know – the several ways both men and women regard each other and the crass terms and characterizations we use in describing the other when our romantic and sexual needs aren’t met. And, ultimately, we can see the loss of the compassion and love we all could rise to in our treatment of each other if sensibility and sensitivity became ours.
Cleverly, imaginatively, yet somewhat naively, Mamet tell his story. Credit a fine cast and some good direction to James Sharpe in keeping the play moving as well as it does. Carlene Bezevic’s interesting 70’s costumes were first rate. We’ll look forward to future performances by SkyPilot, this new kid on the block.
Sexual Perversity in Chicago Sidewalk Studio Theatre 4250 Riverside Dr. Burbank Sunday @ 7:00 p.m., Monday @ 8:00 p.m. No charge for admission Donations accepted. Free wine and soft drinks during this opening run.