The Theater Department's performance of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity In Chicago" examines, not too gently, the mores of urban, single America in the 1970s. In an unhindered, sometimes disturbing manner, Mamet, with a prestigious list of theatrical credits, accomplishes the difficult task of portraying the thoughts and actions of the singles of that era, and perhaps many other ages, in meticulous detail.
"Sexual persity In Chicago" is scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week and next week, with a special 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. It ends its brief run on Saturday, Oct.6.
The male characters, Bernard Litka, played by Karl Schott, and Danny Shapiro, played by Steven Lamprinos, meet their female counterparts, Debbie Solomon, played by Browyn Dodson, and Joan Webber, played by Ann Closs, in the local bar at the beginning of the play.
Bernard, the self-proclaimed expert on women and sexual conquest, strikes out, while the protege, Danny, is successful in establishing a relationship with Debbie. Bernard, of course, feels that Danny's success is a direct result of his tutelage. Bernard never hesitates to explain in precise detail his sexual conquest, and give Danny the benefit of his vast expertise in the ways of women.
In one bizarre episode, Bernard describes his encounter with a girl whose gratification includes World War HI equipment and sound effects; the liaison terminates by the girl setting fire to the apartment. A mass orgy with firemen called to quell the blaze caps the evening.
Notwithstanding their inexperience, Danny and Debbie develop a passionate relationship, much to the chagrin of Bernard, who has yet to demonstrate his prowess with women. His first try ends in failure when he is rebuffed, in no uncertain terms, by Debbie's roommate, kindergarten teacher Joan Webber.
The development of the relationship among these well-defined characters is the thrust of the play.
Unencumbered by an excess of scenery and characters, this lean, fast paced, often profane and utterly realistic portrayal of life at that age speeds through the action carrying the audience on a whirlwind trip. The dialogue, at times, sounds like stories from the men's or women's locker room.
The cast has the action well in hand and is near' perfection in the performance.
Karl Schott as the crass, insecure loudmouth, Bernard gives an excellent performance. Steven Lamprinos and Browyn Dodson make the perfect pair for what is obviously an early romantic experience for each, best demonstrated in a moment of tenderness in a sea of profanity when they express their love for each other.
Ann Closs as the sometimes bitter, untrustful, unrequited school teacher gives the role a mature and understanding interpretation.
Dan Michelson's direction is even and well thought out. Time is devoted, not only to lines, cues and
acting but such small details as synchronizing the off-stage doorbell for the girl's apartment when the action calls for the sound.
If you aren't offended by the realism and the ample use of profanity,"Sexual Perversity In Chicago" is guaranteed to entertain, amuse and give you a little insight into life as it was...and is.
Tickets are seven dollars for adults and six dollars students (five dollars with an A.S. card). They can be purchased at the Theatre Arts ticket office or by phone at (714) 992-7425.