Space as metaphor in Mac Playersƒ?TM "Sexual Perversity

By Jesse Sawyer

In the course of watching a preview showing of ƒ?oeSexual Perversity in Chicago,ƒ?? a David Mamet play being performed this weekend by Macalester students and directed by Lindsay Woolward ƒ?TM07, a few revelations occurred to me:1. Misogyny is sort of hilarious;
2. Your friends are the reason you will never be happy in a relationship;
3. As one character, Bernie, points out, ƒ?oeThe way to get laid is to treat them like shit;ƒ??
4. Some people like the taste of cum; and,
5. David Mamet is one hell of a playwright.

I suppose I learned more than just that while watching the play, but mostly I just laughed a lot and wondered which of the four characters on stage most mirrored my own persona.

These four characters are Danny, the well-intending but awkward office peon (Guy Schaffer ƒ?TM07), Debra, his illustrator love interest (Molly Knefel ƒ?TM08), her bitchy housemate who probably majored in philosophy and is now useless to the world, Joan (Abigail Faulkner ƒ?TM07), and Guyƒ?TMs coworker and generally sleazy representation of all that is repulsive about male heterosexual culture, Bernie (David Jacobs ƒ?TM07).

Through these four characters, the play examines the inception, development and demise of Danny and Debraƒ?TMs relationship. It does so through a deft manipulation of space as metaphor. The arrangement of the stage is such that each setting represents a realm of social interaction. Thereƒ?TMs the female apartment, the male office, the coupleƒ?TMs bedroom, bar, porno theater, and public beach. Respectively, these allow us to see the difference in relations among the characters as they correspond to different realms of social exchange. Most importantly, we see how the same-sex realms, those of housemates and friends, impact the heterosexual realms of the bar and the bedroom.

Further, the play uses its sharp humor as a way of putting misogyny on full vulgar display, and does so in a way that demonstrates its performative aspects. David Jacobs does a stellar job with Bernie, the principle personification of this misogyny, delivering a series of Vince Vaughn-esque diatribes against the fairer sex, all with the rapid-fire self-certainty of someone who truly thinks themselves a ƒ?oeproƒ?? in the world of heterosexuality, complete with the homophobia, woman-hating, and cocksureness that come with such a position.

Along the lines of the play/film ƒ?oeCloser,ƒ?? ƒ?oeSexual Perversity in Chicagoƒ?? is a work of comedy that, through the laughter, casts a sober and examining eye over the inner workings of heterosexual relations and the way in which they are mediated through homosocial realms. As an independent Mac production, it is to be highly commended and more than deserves your attention (not to mention a little donation at the door).

“Sexual Perversity in Chicago” plays in the GDD basement tonight and tomorrow, with shows at both 7:30pm and 10 pm.