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A CurtainUp DC Review
It’s the morning after a big party at the guys’ apartment. Mid-terms are looming. Some of the guys want to study, graduate, get a good job, get ahead. Cooper (Evan Casey), the son of a CEO couldn’t care less. He knows he can spread this college thing out, go on the 5-year plan, play on the team a bit longer ‘cos Dad, who’s really busy and does not pay much attention to his son’s grades, will bail him out. Johnson (Paul James), an African-American who is well aware of his parents’ expectations, may be tempted and distracted by video games but he’s determined to do well, stay out of trouble, get a good job. Jimmy (Danny Gavigan), the goody goody, spent the weekend with his religious family while Davis (played very convincingly by Jake Odmark) hooks up with Jimmy’s fiancée, Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind, in a performance that is remarkable for its surprises).
Leigh, who is from “the wrong side of the tracks” and her roommate, “little miss pre-Law,” the calculating and ambitious Grace, return to their apartment from the party, drunk, hammered. Grace wants details of Leigh’s hook up but, as she says, “are you coming . . .or are you going to throw up first?”
The characters, representing different facets of 20-something egocentricity, may not be attractive but they are interesting sociologically. Parenting or working with any of them could be a nightmare because they live in a moral void. Their attitudes, though not universal, thankfully, and their speech give a dark, sinister insight into how Generation Me handles the pressure put on them by themselves and others and how they are blind to anything that would impede their getting what they want.
Both principle players Jake Odmark and Bethany Anne Lind take in stride the plot’s twists and turns with convincing ease. Kim Rosen as Haley, Leigh’s uneducated but shrewd sister from the other side of the socio-economic divide, stuffs her part with splendid comic timing. As the working class townie, she’s a hoot.
Director Matthew Gardiner gets from his actors the energy and magnetism that make the play believable. Misha Kachman’s set: low-end Crate and Barrel and Cosmo magazine for the girls’ apartment; empty beer cans on non-descript and probably none-too-clean furniture and video games on a flat-screen tv for the guys. Collegiate, sexist and real.
As an entrée to Generation Me, Really Really has a lot of merit because it rings true. The action is rough but the wise-ass, biting dialogue with its frequent explosions of f-bombs, courtesy of playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo is gripping. However, the play is not without trite lines and situations and its themes have been well covered before. David Mamet’s Oleanna comes to mind as does David Harrower’s Blackbird. This is not a show for prissies or Granny.