Sexual Politics

The play may not be everyone's proverbial cup of tea -- both daily critics found it tasteless -- but it's not fair to attack it, as they did, for being lowbrow drama. Like hundreds of characters in farces before them, Lee-Ila and Joanna are nearly upstaged by the shenanigans going on around them. The Flintstones-esque Halloween costumes they plan to wear for the wedding reappear draped over other characters who are trying to make unseen exits. (Yeah, right.) The conflict caused by the women's engagement is pushed aside by subplots involving the agendas of their self-centered friends and family. (Lulubeth is less appalled by the marriage, it seems, than by the prospect of a wedding that will take place in a local synagogue, the only religious institution to provide parking as well as approval for same-sex unions.) Despite all this nonsense, the comedy delivers the happy, morally centered, and satisfying conclusion that the formula dictates.

Firestone's play is one of two world premieres the Caldwell is presenting this season, along with the Florida premiere of Paula Vogel's 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive. Comedy of Eros may strike some as oddly out of place, sandwiched between the Vogel work and The World Goes 'Round, the respectable, well-pedigreed revue of Kander and Ebb works that opened the Caldwell's season. It may not be the sort of play that fans rooting for a roster of "important" and provocative theater works in South Florida are hoping for. Paul Firestone may not be a playwright for the ages. But to imply that the play isn't worthy of a production is to sell short everyone who cares about theater.

Comedy of Eros.
Written by Paul Firestone. Directed by Michael Hall. Starring Tamara Guffey, Erin Neill, Nicole Orth-Pallavicini, Robert Stoeckle, Christopher Baker, and Steve Wilson. Through February 14. Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-241-7432 or toll-free 930-6400.

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