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Cockroach Infestation 

The '90s tech boom becomes fodder for a new play about mismatched roommates involved in a dot-com start-up

Wednesday, May 22 2002
The late-'90s tech boom is far enough behind us, it seems, to start writing plays about it. Berkeley playwright Steve Lyons has concocted a new comedy about two mismatched female roommates in San Francisco who compound the tension between them by inviting their even more wildly mismatched boyfriends to move in. The boyfriends, for some reason, get along, and before you know it they've raised $10 million in venture capital for a Web-based obituary service called The play gets by on broad humor and local stereotypes instead of character: Simone is a ditzy, poetic scatterbrain who hyperventilates when she misses buying tickets to a Joni Mitchell concert. Jenny is her straight-laced, vinegary roommate, who listens to classical music and wants to marry a computer programmer named Don. Doug -- he just goes by Doug, with no last name -- is a blowhard performance artist whose sideburns blur the line between muttonchops and an Amish beard. The characters are only a little bit funny, and most of the actors have been directed by Dawson Moore to careen through their lines at top volume. Only Michael Symonds, as the shy Don, does creditable work: He has goofy, prominent ears and a long face, and hides amusingly in the closet (which is too short for him) when Simone comes blustering in.


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