Ghost & Spice Productions’ presentation of Boston Marriage, written by David Mamet and directed by Jay O’Berski, premiered at Common Ground Theatre in Durham, NC on Friday April 16. While the production company praises the play as “brilliantly clever and rhythmic,” it does not quite live up to these high expectations.
Boston Marriage tells the story of two women, Anna (Lenore Field) and Claire (Lakeisha Coffey), who the audience quickly realizes are much more than just friends. While the selfish and flighty Anna is deeply in love with Claire and plans for the two to live together in an apartment paid for by Anna’s male “lover,” her plan quickly falls apart when Claire reveals she is in love with a young girl. Things get even crazier (and even more unbelievable) when the audience finds out that Claire’s crush is the daughter of Anna’s lover, and the two women plot to keep their lush lifestyle from crumbling around them. Added into the mix is a funny maid who really serves no purpose except to provide comic relief, something that really shouldn’t be necessary in a comedy.
If that plot sounds contrived and hard to follow, then one basically has the feel of the entire show. For reasons unbeknownst to anyone, the entire dialogue is spoken in language that is meant to be Victorian but comes off as something closer to Shakespearean. . .sort of. All of the actors, with the exception of Tracey Coppedge (Catherine) , seem to stumble over the hard to follow lines, making one question if they even know what it is they’re talking about.
Coppedge’s performance as a lively and ditzy Scottish maid is the show’s one saving grace. Her accent is perfect, and she keeps the audience laughing throughout the show with her clever banter and obvious frustration and bafflement at her employer’s antics. Additional positive points of the show include the bright, fun, costume design that reeks of girl power, and the vibrant set and lighting design by John Dalt.
While it is nice to have a show that caters to the LGBT community in the Triangle area, one gets the feeling that this play is trying to be daring just for the sake of being daring. Overall, it is a fun idea that is not well executed at all. If Mamet would have saved the time wasted on making his dialogue “artsy,” and spent it delving a little further into character development, the whole thing could have been much more enjoyable. Past Ghost & Spice productions have been exemplary, and one can only hope that this one was just a minor fluke.
The show continues its run with performances at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1. Tickets can be purchased by calling (888) 239-9253 or by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com.