“Really Really” at Arts West

“Davis got laid last night!” says his roommate Cooper, to their college friends the morning after a party that evidently equaled the most barbaric bacchanal of Roman times. That wouldn’t be unusual among this group of self-serving “generation me” lay-abouts except that Davis doesn’t usually score.

Ben Brantley in the New York Times calls this a “pitiless state-of-a-generation play.” It’s author Paul Downs Colaizzo who wrote it in his twenties knows his cohorts well, and if we are to believe him, there’s little hope for the future.

He depicts “generation me” most of whose members can be describes as obsessed with sex, not usually willing to work too hard to achieve anything, relying instead on deceit, manipulation, and selfishness. Most of them are not really nice people but they make fascinating material for a playwright as talented as Colaizzo.

Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

The hung over guys tap the remains of the keg the morning after, as they horse around in their apartment and marvel at the fact that Davis got laid and did it with their buddy Jimmy’s fiancĂ©e, Leigh. When Jimmy finds out and confronts Leigh she claims it was rape, provides “evidence.” But are we to believe that it’s plausible evidence? Davis was so drunk he can’t remember what happened, but it matters not. He’s called to the Dean’s office and will probably be expelled. Leigh’s sister shows up and spreads lies to protect her sister.

Meanwhile Leigh’s roommate, Grace, who was also wasted at the party, pulls herself together so she can deliver a speech to “the future leaders of America” at a youth conference. She exhorts them to focus on “me,” recognize we can all get what we want.

At the same time Davis’ friends are backing away, don’t want to get involved, are fearful the taint of scandal might sully them, willing to lie to save themselves. Friendship be damned.

Makaela Pollock has directed this production with a deft hand. The acting is uniformly powerful. And kudos to Julia Welch for her clever set that allows us to be in the girls’ neat kitchen at the same time we’re in the disheveled mess of the party apartment.

The play is not a perfect piece. The playwright introduces social class issues that are not fully explored and seem tangential to his focus. There are inconsistencies. The ending is overwrought.
But given these weaknesses, this is a play you wont forget. It’s a potent piece of writing, and this production drives home the issues it raises. You will want to talk about it afterwards. Arts West offers talkbacks after each performance. This is a theatre experience that demands it.

Through Feb. 14 at Arts West, 4711 California Ave., SW, Seattle, (206 938-0339 or www.artswest.org).

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