Friday, April 10, 2015

Mamet's Marriage

I'm just back from a production of Boston Marriage at the Campbell House Museum (this is the older -- or perhaps just stately -- house on the corner of Queen and University).  I see it all the time, but have never been inside, though they sometimes have intimate theatre events, particularly during the Toronto Fringe Fest.  I will admit being somewhat curious to get inside helped tip the scale to see this production.

No question that Mamet plays fast and loose with language.  Much of the time there is a lot of stately, elevated discussion from the two main players, but then one will let loose something like "Get out, or I'll have you killed."  In fact, most of what Anna, the older woman, says to her maid is cruel yet often funny and completely out of character for a woman in her position in the 1890s.  It reminds me in some ways of Overmyer's On the Verge, though a bit cruder and perhaps overall a bit funnier.  The core of the play isn't funny at all (a lesbian of "a certain age" who finds that she is losing her partner who has practically lost her mind over a young girl) but the execution certainly is.  I will have to remember how he made some of these lines snap -- and try to check out the script from the library.

This is an incredibly intimate production.  There are only 3 actors and they mostly sit in 2 chairs and a love seat or stand and pace around this mid-sized drawing room.  There is room for about 35 chairs for the audience ringing this drawing room.  So you will get close and personal while the play is being performed.  I would recommend it if one likes interesting, challenging dialogue and a bit of the Mamet sleigh-of-hand with some curious plot twists.  Personally I didn't find the maid role that interesting, as she seemed unbelievably dim and not at all sure of her actual place in the household, but the other two characters more than made up for the maid.

Apparently the play runs most of the way through April.  In addition, there is an all female version of Glengarry Glenn Ross that will also run through most of April, though it opens next week, so curiously most of the cast came out to tonight's performance.  (Details about both can be found here.)  This is just down the street at the Red Sandcastle Theatre, but I think I will pass.  Not so much because I am offended by gender bending productions (though I do find them pointless most of the time) but because the play doesn't interest me as much as other Mamet.  I guess I just see it as a more obvious piece than his other plays.  However, if this does interest you, you have about two weeks to catch it.

Ok, that was fairly short and sweet.  Now I have to get some rest, since I still have so much to do this weekend, even though it is just getting started.

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