Hatchetman was a very silly play about a golfing magazine called Putts. The script was fine, but it wasn't the sort of thing people would remember two or three years (or weeks) afterward. The production was another story altogether: inspired acting that treated the script with a lot more respect than it treated itself and a breathtaking set from Mark Pirolo that was a gift of grace, love, and humor. Creating Putts' editorial office must have been a profound pain in the ass, editorial offices being the incredibly busy, hectic, disorganized, and stuff-filled places that they are. But Pirolo rose to the challenge with a verve that made it seem as though he'd waited all his life to build a golf-mag's digs. The office's two rooms were clearly visible at all times, thanks to a cut-away wall and some tricky angle calculations. The walls were lined with dozens (hundreds?) of old Putts covers that had obviously been designed especially for the show, each of which appeared utterly authentic (and often hilarious, if you had your binoculars and you could catch some of the risque double-entendres happening in the headlines and the cover shots). Each office extended into a very business-looking corridor behind semifrosted glass, suggesting a vast warren of offices just out of sight, and everything was connected by a mysterious closet, out of which spewed golf bags, clubs, strange costumes, and people. Pirolo's set for Hatchetman was maybe not the prettiest of the season — offices are seldom pretty — but it was certainly the most evocative.
As a play, David Mamet's Glengarry doesn't hit a lot of notes: There's venal greed, mortal greed, lying, anger, and recrimination, and that's about it. Somehow, Mosaic's actors made that small clutch of emotions stand in for — and count for as much as — the whole varied spectrum of human experience. As an audience, you felt intense pity for the landlocked, self-loathing Ken Clement and a sad strain of love for the doomed and desperate Cary Leiter. You felt deep loathing for Barry Tarralo and utter contempt for Heath Kelts. And the whole came together at a hyperreal pace that should've been jarring — but it was executed with such style and poise, it seemed like a candid glimpse into an alternate universe that was every bit as corrupt and bewildering as our own but where the talking was faster, the minds more nimble, and everybody's teeth sharper.

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