“The Taming” at Arts West Theatre

When a writer has a play that’s topical, a play whose topicality increases with each passing month, the impetus is to get it up and running as soon as possible. “The Taming” indeed deals with a subject—our malfunctioning national government—that increases in importance, not month by month, but day by day. The problem here is that the work has been rushed to the stage before it’s ready. Some thoughtful rewrite to get rid of clichés, stale jokes, sophomoric set ups, and gratuitous homosexuality could work to make this topical script a good night in the theatre.

Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

Justine Rose Stillwell as Miss Georgia

In “The Taming” a fervid conservative and an impassioned liberal are locked in a hotel room without their cell phones or any other device that might set them free. Their captor is Georgia’s Miss American contestant who’s “gonna make her mama and Jesus proud.” The beauty contest will be her platform to force rewrite of the American Constitution, and her female captives, are just the people to make this dream come true.

Through some quick time travel, we realize that many of the battles waged by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President were built into the Constitution by self-interest disguised as honorable intent. Self-interest and greed prevailed in 1787 just as they prevail today.

Should the Constitution be changed? What about the Electoral College? What about the definition of a militia? Does the Constitution suit the country today? All good questions, but this play isn’t the vehicle to address them.

A co-world-premiere, produced in association with Crowded Fire Theatre in San Francisco, it’s got lots of laughs, some better than others. Justine Rose Stillwell, Dayo Anderson, and Anna Townes perform well. The play doesn’t.

Through Oct. 19 at Arts West, 4711 California Ave. SW, Seattle (206 938-0339 or www.artswest.org).

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