note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
The internet, it seems, has taken the awkwardness---not to mention the innocence---out of teenage dating. A slew of plays about on-line, off color “chatting” offer a cautionary heads up to the rest of us not posting our innermost thoughts on FACEBOOK.
SPEECH AND DEBATE (playing through April 25th) is Stephen Karam’s hip, coming of age comedy, with lots of funny texting and blogging, about three adolescent misfits who, luckily, find each other for support and validation. What makes the Lyric Stage production pop are the high voltage performances . Director Jeremy Johnson has taken a cute play and made it rock big-time, with knock-your-socks-off acting from the whole cast.
Whenever he disapproves of a suggestion from his classmates, Chris Conner rolls not only his eyes, but his head---while his shoulders swivel in hilarious contortion. Watching him exaggerate his torso as if it were part of his voice---is simply delicious. Likewise, Rachel Hunt gyrates (choreography by Ilyse Robbins) to her three-note musical accompaniment as she extemporizes a song about not being cast in the school musical. As they text in the story, we’re R O F L (Rolling on the Floor Laughing). Also wonderful are Alex Wyse as the hyper nerd and Maureen Keiller as their flustered teacher and later, as a newswoman from NPR covering their speech club debate. OMG! It’s a wonder teenagers survive into adulthood nowadays.