Having read a recent interview with playwright Christopher Durang, and feeling guilty for having missed last year’s Ghost and Spice production of Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, I trotted down to Durham’s Common Ground last night to see Bare Theatre’s Durang/Durang. It’s a good one, well directed by Olivia Griego, with the expected minimalist sets (not minimal as in zero but minimal as in 20%) really well handled, and with some good acting–and some fantastic acting. I think they could have used a sound designer, but especially given the tech constraints at Common Ground, that’s a quibble: it’s a really funny and thoughtful show of half-a-dozen short plays by this successful contemporary author/actor/gadabout. Actually, the compilation is nearly 20 years old at this point but seems a reasonable introduction to Durang’s brand of iconoclastic absurdism.
My favorite play in the set was (a) Wanda’s Visit, which afforded lots of scope for the physical comedy of (b) my favorite actor of the evening, PJ Maske.
Maske has many looks, and one of them reminds me of Anne Dudek, whom you may remember from the House television series, but she’s more–how do you say–three dimensional. Her body moves in space like that of a dancer (which, I subsequently discovered, she is). She has a small but impressive international presence, and I’m going to keep an eye on her.
She would have just the right edge where sexy meets get-out-of-my-way to play Melody Hunter in The Whistler someday, and I’d also love to see her as the cunning and disingenuous Gina Degringolade in my little The Next Big Thing, which has yet to be staged.
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