lieutenant.jpgI’m torn on this one and I’ll tell you why. I read a “review” of this play in the New Yorker that I didn’t realize gave away every single plot detail. Now here’s the thing with this play: plot is the whole deal. It’s not a subtle character study. It’s like watching a Tarantino movie; if someone gives away all the twists and turns of Reservoir Dogs, it’s not all that enjoyable a film. Part of the experience is the tension of wondering if some outrageous violence is really, truly going to happen right in front of you.

It’s like Grand Guignol. The thrill is in wondering, “Is he really gonna chop that dude’s head off?!” If someone nudges you and says, “He’s gonna let that guy go in a minute but he’s gonna shoot that guy there and blood will spurt everywhere,” it’s just not all that much fun. So, instead, I found myself watching how good the actors were and how much the audience was digging it.

It was like watching improv: since I was a mainstage improvisor for years and years, and did literally hundreds of shows, I now very rarely laugh at most improv. I smile a small smile and mutter, “Well done.” And that’s what I was doing here: admiring the construction and the wit of the play, but not getting caught up in it. I know, I know, I should never read reviews, but in this case I figured I’d never get a chance to see it. Oh, well. Still fun to see so much dark humor onstage.