Sexual Perversity In Chicago

by Michael Martin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 10, 2009

Sexual Perversity In Chicago

It is true that big things often come in small packages. Such is the case with the Alliance Theatre Lab's current production of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago now playing at the intimate Main Street Playhouse in Miami Lakes.

A powerfully talented cast of four justly portrays Mamet's characters from one of his earliest works. The explicit language sounds less shocking today than when the play was first produced in 1976, however Mamet's deftly defined battle of the sexes still rings true with many present day couples.

Not unlike the 70s television show, Love American Style, the script contains a vast amount of quick vignette scenes. Often, a large amount of blackouts causes annoying disruption on behalf of an audience. Mamet's keen flair for writing, however, leaves a sense of yearning for the next scene to be lit.

The author's characters become so well defined, thanks in large part to the superb cast, that an air of eagerness soon permeates the confines of the theatre space as the audience anxiously awaits any new developments.

Bernie Litko (Travis Reiff) and Danny Shapiro (David Sirois) are best friends and work colleagues. Though the pair bond through shared stories of their adventures as single men trying to conquer the unassailable mount of complexity known as "woman", their approaches to dealing with the opposite sex vary widely.

Deborah Soloman (Bertha Leal) and Joan Webber (Jehane Serralles) are roommates, and likewise profess different ideologies when it comes to dealing with the human male species.

What really works here is director Adalberto J. Acevedo's keen casting. Each actor infuses their character with realism, allowing the audience to easily relate to their characters' individual plights.

Reiff masterfully commands the stage from the start. His clever use of tone and body language allows us to discover a Bernie that is wrought with insecurity issues, which the character continually attempts to conceal with manifested bravado.

Sirois likewise utilizes a suave naturalness to his tone that convincingly produces a likeable Danny despite his crude treatment of girlfriend Deborah during their breakup.

Leal exudes a perfectly coquettish behavior for her Deborah, who's claim that she has lesbian tendencies may in fact be more a political stance rather than a sexual preference.

Serralles contains the unique ability to present the likeable bitch in her rendition of Joan, a woman who views herself as scorned by men so often that she has since adopted an unwavering bitterness concerning the gender.

Reiff is also credited with sound design. The spectacular choices of 70's music that play between each short scene perfectly add in creating the set time period for the piece. Amy Spadafore intelligently dresses the confined space to portray the required different locales, accompanied by Skye Whitcomb's focused lighting that highlights these variances.

Overall, Acevedo delivers a production wrought with convincing talent and justly serves David Mamet's original intent.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago continues through November 22 at Alliance Theatre Lab, 6766 Main Street, Miami Lakes, FL. For more information, visit the Alliance Theatre Lab website.

Michael Martin has been an active member of Actors' Equity for over 20 years. As a professional actor, he has toured many parts of the US and the world. Originally from St. Louis, he now resides in Miami.