phile under: theater

Durang’s Signature Stylings

Tonight and tomorrow at Readers Theatre Repertory

By Anne Adams November 12, 2010

Christopher Durang’s playful introspection totally “does it” for Culturephile.

When it comes to playbills, I have a Pavlovian response: I salivate whenever I see the name "Durang."

To this day, I regard a 1999 Whitman College performance of Laughing Wild, as the best small-budget production I’ve ever seen. On a spontaneous yen a couple years ago, I searched for Laughing Wild’s author, and delightedly attended several Durang plays, including Miss Witherspoon at Theater Theatre, and an uncharacteristically irreverent U of P production. Christopher Durang often obsesses over hypotheticals. In a Durang scene, characters interact, then retreat into introspective reveries. "Did I do the right thing there?" they wonder aloud. Then they re-enter the same scenario they’ve just left, and try a different approach. This playful disregard for the rules of chronology, a la Groundhog Day, allows for what real life lacks: do-overs.

Tonight and tomorrow, Readers Theatre Repertory presents The Fall of the Fourth Wall, a set of short pieces chosen for their boundary-pushing approach. The works include Caught in the Act by Bruce Kane, Captive Audience by David Ives, and The Actor’s Nightmare by—you guessed it—Christopher Durang. Says director Jason England, ""It’s part of the human condition to wonder just who’s in charge of the play called life we find ourselves cast in." Too true.

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