Theater in Tucson: David Mamet makes women as unlikable as he makes men by Kathleen Allen | Tucson.com
Photo: Clark Llohr
L to R: T Loving, Carley Preston, and Jill Baker in Something Something's "Boston Marriage"
If there’s a pleasant character in David Mamet’s creative soul, we’ve yet to see it.
His testosterone-driven plays such as “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “American Buffalo” are loaded with men who ooze slime, manipulate with glee, and lack a moral compass.
No surprise, his women in “Boston Marriage” are just as unpleasant. The comedy is Something Something Theatre Company’s current offering.
This one is a bit of a switch for Mamet: There are only female characters, and it is set in the late 19th century. The title is a quaint term for two women who are in a romantic relationship.
The humor and the horror (the way the women treat each other is the horror) are underscored in Director Avis Judd’s hands, and her cast of three — Jill Baker, T Loving and Carley Elizabeth Preston — caress Mamet’s complex, smart language and have some keen timing.
Loving is Anna, who has a nice set-up thanks to a sugar daddy who pays her rent and gives her jewelry in exchange for, well, you know what. Her one-time lover, Claire (Preston) has come to visit. Claire, it seems, has fallen for a woman so young she can’t leave her home without a chaperone. Claire is hoping that Anna will provide the room for a “vile assignation.” Anna is not happy — she still has a thing for Claire. After much protest and hemming and hawing Anna agrees. But only if she is allowed to watch. She will be discreet about it, of course — she’ll look through a peephole.
Constantly interrupting their discussion is the teary-eyed maid (Baker), Scottish, though Anna insists she is Irish, and delightfully confused about just about everything.
This cast is strong and handles Mamet’s rat-a-tat language with authority.
The trouble with this play is that Mamet’s language here is overwrought, the plot is thin, and there is just nobody who is likable in the play.
Worse, Mamet leaves us little to think about. “Glengarry Glen Ross” prompted thoughts about deception and its costs; “American Buffalo” took on the broken American dream, loyalty and greed.
But “Boston Marriage” is too thin and too self-indulgent to give us something to chew on.
What it does have is a cast that knows how to underscore the humor and drive home the language. And it’s Mamet’s language — even at its worst, it’s better than most.
Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4128.