“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” Socrates (469 -399 BC)
What is usually called the older generation, always says a variant of the above quote about every younger generation. For the baby boomer generation, we had Christopher Lasch’s punditry. It seems today, we are actually a little bit more enlightened by science about the plight of youth; given the advances in brain science. Physiologically , the most sophisticated part of the human brain, the frontal lobe, where judgment is processed, does not fully develop until age 26, so that is why youth behaves irresponsibly, without reflection and sometimes highly immorally.
And in my experience, it is always the people who were the most irresponsible and most self-destructive in their youth, who are in turn the most judgmental of the growing pains of the under 30’s. The play Really, Really, by Paul Down Coliazzo, produced by Touch Productions, currently running at West of Lenin, was a treatise about the biggest defect of being young, their selfishness.
Taking place in two student apartments, near the campus of a prestigious elite university, two months before graduation, when fear of not graduating is high, but fear OF graduating is higher, live two sets of roommates. One has girls, the other guys.
In the guys apartment are trustafarian athletes. Co0per, a dedicated athlete, played by Andy Brumlow, has a dispensation from classes and studying by the dean. Davis, played by Drew Brady, studies in between otherdrinking and hang-overs. Their bespectacled, bookish, boy-scoutish friend Johnson, played by Brandon Suarez, drops by to play video games and prep Davis for exams.
Just to let us all know what undergraduate men are like, we were treated to some David Mamet/Seth Rogan party-post-mortem conversation revolving around who got laid, in late adolescent fraternity boy fashion.
In the other half of the stage, is the girl’s apartment. Played by Dana Goodknight, Leigh is definitely not a trustafarian, but a girl from a highly dysfunctional family, who behaves like a sorority girl at a state university in the ‘50s, not like a debt-incurring contemporary student who had to work very hard to get a place at an elite university. She is scheming to get an MRS. degree to the son of the dean of the university. As Kissinger said “Power is the greatest aphrodisiac”.
Her roommate, Grace, played by Lee Iris Thomas, may or may not be a scheming lesbian, who is imbued with ambition, and an enormous sense of entitlement. As the epitome of obnoxiousness, she also runs around in high heels, impeccable hair and a straight skirt as she addresses a youth leadership conference, and speaks with a very annoying voice.
Of the gang, not one person could communicate sensitively with the other; they all saw the other person’s issues and problem’s through their own perspective. Instead of compassionate communication, they all selfishly manipulated each other for their own purposes; they were all narcissists.
However, that is not unique to any one generation at a particular time in history as social historians and sociologist would have us believe, that is just youth. In many ways, that is a strength for young people, as they forge ahead to create their own lives, without it they might never find the strength to get a job, get through college, or leave home.
Packing a huge amount of suspense and drama, into a fairly simple plot, which revolved around the aftermath of the supposed pregnant Leigh’s supposed rape at a party. Was the sex consensual? Was she really pregnant? Will her boyfriend believe her and stick by her? The central highly depressing issue was what each friend’s reaction to the event revealed about their characters. Through the machinations of the characters, Paul Downs Coliazzo, not only exposed the flaws of young people, but also the flaws of all selfish human beings.
Although this was an interesting, enjoyable play, there were a few flaws in the script. An overly long exposition, a good 20 minutes, composed of supposedly funny but not very inspiring or witty dialogue, did not advance the plot but belabored the point that the audience was dealing with post-adolescent undergraduate male grossness. Not only did it go on for too long and was repetitive, it was directed for laughs, so the humor fell flat. Had it been directed, not to telegraph the audience “Ain’t we gross” it might have been more palatable.
Also there were problems with the set. On the positive side, the set designer Silas James, had the sense to split the stage in half, rather than have endless set changes which would have slowed things down; however, the furniture in the girl’s half of the set was placed too close to the audience, so those of us sitting in the back could barely see; but it was a minor flaw in an otherwise, compelling script.
I recommend this show, it is Tough Productions’ first show, the directors Annika Summers and Ian Wells did an excellent job as did the cast. For a new fringe company, they have certainly pulled off a terrific feat. There are only three performances left and the price is right.
Really Really. Tough Productions. West of Lenin 203 N. 36th Ave. Fremont, Seattle. Performances: Sat. Aug 27 2:30 pm, 7:30 pm; Sun. Aug 28 2:30. Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2567763