Introducing Romance

The season ends with dessert; a farce by David Mamet. This may give you pause for thought – Mamet’s plays, many of which have been premiered at the A.R.T. (Oleanna, The Old Neighborhood, Boston Marriage) are generally thought of as terse explorations of American masculinity, famous for their tough characters and clipped dialogue more than their humor. But in recent years David has become something of a chameleon, turning his hand to many styles of film and theatre, from Georgian England (The Winslow Boy) to a satire of the political media circus (Wag the Dog.) Now, in Romance, he is writing flat-out farce, and the result is an insanely funny confection.

It would spoil the surprise to tell you too much of the plot; suffice it to say that David has written a parody of a courtroom drama that is one of the most glorious diatribes against political correctness I know. No gender, race, religion, or special interest group escapes unscathed – meaning, by the way, that the play isn’t suitable for children under the age of fifteen, because the language gets more than a little heated. The courtroom resembles a lunatic asylum; the judge (who will be played by Will LeBow) is so high on anti-allergy medication that he can’t tell if the defendant is a chiropodist or a chiropractor, and meanwhile a Middle East Peace Conference is taking place in town, with disastrous consequences. When I saw the play at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York a few years ago, I nearly hurt myself I laughed so hard. Scott Zigler, a long-time collaborator of David’s who staged The Old Neighborhood for us, will direct.

-Gideon Lester


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