Romance, A Comedy - theater

February 6-9, 13-16, Thursdays-Saturdays 7pm, Sundays 3pm
San Miguel Playhouse, Av. Independencia 82
$350

Romance, A Comedy - theater

David Mamet's Romance opens on February 6 at the San Miguel Playhouse for eight performances over a two-week run. It is a savagely funny play that seems to extol tribalism and incivility. You may be asking yourself why you should see such a play, especially at a time when tribalism and incivility are considered to be two of the world's great maladies.

It is precisely for that reason. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Mamet wrote the play fifteen years ago, but it appears more relevant than ever now, and his intention should be clear. He is not extolling racism and rudeness, but rather sending up hypocrisy and humbug in all its guises. Mamet exposes the disconnect between the way people uphold their respectable jobs — as judges, doctors, attorneys, clergy, and so forth — while their puerile prejudices and peccadilloes are screaming for release.

Mamet uses a familiar form, the courtroom drama, a staple of theater for centuries, but he turns the genre on its head. The plot, such as it is, involves a defense attorney's attempt to get an acquittal for his guilty client, in the courtroom of a judge high on allergy meds, by working out a solution for World Peace based on the defendant's skills a chiropractor. Really.

In her review of the play for Let's Talk Off-Broadway, critic Yvonne Korshak writes: "Romance is one of the funniest plays I've ever seen. It's wicked, nasty, but totally non-stop hilarious.... This is one skillful playwright: a 'nice' person can happily laugh and laugh at Mamet's incredibly open and nasty attacks on, say, Judges or Jews because Mamet isn't prejudiced — he attacks everyone."

He does indeed. The defense attorney, a Protestant who clearly despises his Jewish client, complains, "You people can't order a cheese sandwich without mentioning the Holocaust." Giving as good as he gets, the defendant grouses, "I hired a goy lawyer. It's like going to a straight hairdresser."

The San Miguel Playhouse production of Romance stars Jim Newell as the Judge, Mick Diener as the Prosecutor, Maggie Bunce as the Defense Attorney, Tomas Burkey as the Defendant, Tony Ronci as the Bailiff, Sebastian Vallin as Bernard, and Henrietta Weekes as the Doctor. The show is directed by Henry Vermillion.

The show will be performed Thursdays through Saturdays at 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Performance dates are February 6 to 9 and February 13 to 16.

Reserved-seat tickets are 350 pesos, and can be purchased online at boletocity.com, or by clicking either of the "Buy Tickets Online" buttons in this email bulletin. Tickets may also be purchased for cash or card at Boleto City at the Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm.

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