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Stage Capsules 

The House of Yes and Mating Cries

Wednesday, Jan 12 2000
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The House of Yes
Wendy MacLeod's terrible play relies mostly on the "shocking" exposition of a past sin (brother-sister incest, ho-hum) and its consequences. Director Lori Glumac doesn't bring much to this dog, making a number of clumsy mistakes herself: The actors often don't speak loudly enough to overcome the constant hurricane noises (which should be brought up only during the scene breaks); and for some reason the otherwise inventive set (by Matthew Hollis) has two automobile bucket seats at center stage, an oddity none of the characters appears to notice. Kyle Kannenberg as Anthony expends as little energy as possible, and Padma Moyer as the mother speaks in hushed, extraterrestrial tones that never vary. However, Deirdre Kotch, as the outsider Lesly, has a sweet demeanor that carries her through, and Gregory Dubin as Marty, blandly earnest at first, demonstrates real acting prowess in his seduction of Lesly -- he's fumblingly naive, yet also calculating and determined. Heather Barberie, as the neurotically glamorous Jackie-O, is consistently great throughout. Her thin, elegant arms and legs arrange themselves haphazardly when she flops in a chair; her voice is always audible, even when quavering; and she uses Jackie-O's tics and unhinged-ness to control the family and repel outsiders. Even when beset by technical difficulties, Barberie's skill and preparation let her succeed where the play and production fail.

--By Joe Mader

Mating Cries
In a unique, if invasive, attempt to get everyone stimulated, audience members at Mating Cries are asked to write down the names of their past and present lovers, which the actors then read aloud by candlelight as an introduction to a series of sketches. These skits depict a highly anxious experience of erotic relationships, from a 30-year chronicle of a couple's evolving desires to a young man's date with the Indian goddess Kali at the senior prom. Audacious one-liners, skillful and creative use of puppets and masks, and mime all work well to reintroduce the trials of erotic desire. The show's unfortunate downfall is its reliance on New Age platitudes. Phrases like "Drink from the water of life" and "We have roots in the belly of the same mother" chanted as solutions to conflict assume a certain spiritual dexterity from the audience. At the end of the show audience members are invited to drink wine and share personal tales of their erotic histories. Many couples beat a hasty retreat. Partners Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller obviously have high ideals for the style of theater they'd like to cultivate, but either its time has yet to come, or -- perhaps -- has already passed.

--By Fiona Gow

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Fiona Gow

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