Theatre Mirror Reviews - "BASH: Latter Day Plays"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Stephen A. Fulchino

"BASH: Latter Day Plays"

Reviewed by Stephen A. Fulchino

There is only one more weekend to see "Bash" by Neil LaBute at the Actors Workshop, presented by TheatreZone. Since the theater is relatively small and the performance last Saturday was nearly sold out, I suggest you call immediately.

I am not sure that "Bash" is a classic piece of dramatic literature, but, if done correctly, it can keep an audience riveted for an hour-and-a-half. The TheatreZone production more than meets that standard.

The play consists of three one-acts: Iphigenia in Orem (a monologue), A Gaggle of Saints (two simultaneous monologues), and Medea Redux (another monologue). All the characters are Mormons, and all the plays involve untimely death.

In the first play, Michael Capelli plays a salesman confessing a dark secret to a woman he just met in a hotel room. Like a good Mormon, he drinks water while she drinks wine. And like a good Mormon, he is willing to make a major "sacrifice" for the good of his family. Capelli catches perfectly the confusion of a man who has done something at odds with his moral principles in order to uphold them.

In the second play, two Boston College juniors, who have been dating since high school, spend the weekend in Manhattan for a big Mormon bash. John and his friends do a little bashing of their own, while their girl friends nap. Nathaniel McIntyre as John projects a boyish innocence under which lies anger and, well, moral confusion. Lara T. Hakeem as Sue has an easier part. She only has to be innocent and naive with no confusion -- yet. But you wonder how she will react when John does something that she cannot ignore.

What sacrifice is revenge worth? In the third play, Danielle L. DiDio makes us believe that a mother could perform a horrible act to teach a lesson to her former junior high school teacher -- a man who turned her on to the Greek myths and seduced her. DiDio had my wife and I hanging on her every word. By the end, if we did not exactly sympathize with her, we understood her. And that was unsettling enough.

Director Danielle Fauteux Jacques has brought TheatreZone into the upper ranks of Boston's small theater scene with this production. I look forward to seeing future work of the company.

"Bash: Latter Day Plays" (until October 28th)
Actors Workshop, 40 Boylston Street, BOSTON

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide