Supposed comic activism needs more active comedy.
On the second day of the Federal government shut-down, Artswest opened a Co-world premiere, The Taming, by Lauren Gunderson a comedy about the current polarization of American politics. According to the author, the show was originally inspired by Shakespeare’s the Taming of the Shew; however, she seemed to throw out the driving force behind Shakespeare’s comedy: sexual tension and substituted something so caricatured that it rendered the play and its characters very trite.
The play takes place mostly in a hotel room, where a beauty queen contestant representing Miss Georgia, has drugged and locked up Bianca, a very silly liberal political activist, played by Anna Townes, with a conservative senatorial aide, Patricia, played by Dayo Anderson. Miss Georgia named Katherine Chelsea Hartford, played by Justine Rose Stillwell, has ordered the two to re-write the Constitution of the United States.
After a first act in which there is no character development, very little plot, and only a few one liners instead of real dialogue, the liberal and the conservative morph into James Madison and Charles Pickney, dressed in costumes vaguely resembling 18th Century clothing. Miss Georgia has morphed into George Washington, and urges them to compromise.
A bizarre ending was tacked on, where Miss Georgia becomes a modern–day president, the conservative activist gets fed up shielding her senator from his philandering and the liberal activist is unmasked as the “intern” the Senator has been diddling.
For a show that cost a quarter of the price, the production values would have been an insult to the audience, but for the price, they could at least have provided the founding fathers with proper 18th Century knee-breeches instead of bloomers.
THE TAMING by Lauren Gunderson, Directed by Tammis Doyle, Artswest 4711 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116, West Seattle, Wed-Sat 7:30; Sundays 3:00 pm www.artswest.org